In a bid to protect JuD chief and Lashkar-e-Taiba sponsor Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan has made yet another attempt to avoid being blacklisted in Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ahead of the deadline for the review meeting in October.
Islamabad is making attempts to avoid a demotion from the FATF grey list to the blacklist during the upcoming plenary meeting. While it tries to showcase its "efforts" in combatting terrorism, there have been reports from Afghanistan giving ample evidence of the presence of Pakistani terrorists on its land.
Analysts are saying that Pakistan is trying to deceive the global anti-terror financing watchdog to avoid being blacklisted and to let terror perpetrators go to scot-free.
In August, a Pakistan court had convicted three terrorists associated with LeT, JuD, and its affiliate Al Hamad Trust on charges of using their properties for terrorism and terror financing, in an attempt to show the clampdown on the terror organisation.
Although the president of Al Hamad Trust Malik Zafar Iqbal and vice president Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki were convicted by a Lahore court on August 28, yet, the court awarded a meagre fine and jail sentence. Iqbal was given six-years while Makki was let off with one-and-a-half-year, and a fine of PKR 20, 000.
Besides Iqbal and Makki, 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi and one of the chief perpetrators Sajid Mir, are roaming free. Lakhvi is even believed to be staying at an ISI guesthouse.
Furthermore, Islamabad's double standards were left exposed in a recent revelation on how it continues to harbour terrorists and is giving VIP treatment to many of them including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan-based Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) terrorist Ranjeet Singh Neeta.
Sources had said that the international community is concerned about the hypocrisy of Pakistan which is pretending to take action against terrorists but is funding them.
According to the sources, the Pakistan government is giving VIP security to 21 dreaded terrorists including those sanctioned last month.
As per the list accessed by ANI, the terrorists given VIP treatment include underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Wadhwa Singh, Chief of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), Indian Mujahideen (IM) chief, Riyaz Bhatkal, terrorist Mirza Shadab Baig and Afif Hassan Siddibapa.
Pakistan is in the grey list since June 2018 and the government was given a final warning in February to complete the remaining action points by June 2020. The FATF extended the June deadline to September due to the spread of coronavirus that disrupted the FATF plenary meetings.
The country is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. As thing stands, Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.