The FATF plenary meeting which begins on Monday is expected to examine Pakistan’s representatives on funding of proscribed groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed and affiliates. Islamabad’s response will have a bearing on its continuance in the grey list of the anti-terror watchdog.
ET has learnt that Pakistan’s prospects of exiting the grey list are limited, given the unchecked fund-raising activities of LeT, JuD, JeM and affiliates. Their recent social media posts reveal an alarming trend of open activity, including fundraising, promotion of ‘jihad’ and training, according to persons tracking activities of the groups. Pakistan’s reluctance to block LeT, JuD and JeM’s fundraising and its track record of ignoring the role of the groups in acts of terror may have convinced some FATF members of Islamabad’s lack of intent to address terrorism. Pakistan claims that it has complied with 24 out of the 27 FATF requirements but FATF member states are not convinced, especially its track record in checking fund collection of proscribed groups and prosecution of individuals for terrorism.
Pakistan has convicted a few individuals on terrorism financing charges and have given them concurrent sentences, instead of cumulative sentences while ignoring their involvement in major terrorist cases and overlooking prosecution in the majority of cases. There are reports that JuD functionaries held a meeting with local businessmen at Markaz Aqsa, Gujranwala, on November 13, when the businessmen to donate a part of their income for ‘mujahideen’ fighting in Kashmir.
The Imran Khan government seems to be under pressure from the collective leadership of the five seminary governing bodies of Pakistan against the registration of madrasas, an important requisite of FATF to stop the spread of extremist ideology. According to the Dawn, only 295 madrasas out of 30,000 have applied for registration. On January 26, clerics and seminary students protested outside Islamabad’s National Press Club against ICT Waqf Properties Act, 2020, promulgated in fulfilment of FATF requirements, calling it un-Islamic and aimed at violating the independence of madrasas and vowing to boycott the registration process.
Last December, JuD operative Muhammad Tariq was able to establish a private school on a ‘frozen property’ in Chiniot district of Pakistan, alleged sources. JeM has recently initiated two programmes for Al Tazkiya / Yaad-dihani and Rukniyat Saazi, its cadres. This involves approaching existing JeM cadres and functionaries through local and regional JeM leaders and remind them of their ‘duties and responsibilities’ to the outfit.