The global community, including multilateral agencies like the global money laundering and terror financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), have long considered Pakistan as a terror safe haven. Pakistan has been on the ‘grey list’ of the FATF for three times and this time round, it has remained on the list since 2018.
Despite all the claims made by top Pakistani officials that Pakistan has fulfilled all its commitments to FATF, all that the country does is that every time there is a hearing of FATF, Pakistan simply does enough to ensure it is not put on the ‘blacklist’ but never enough to actually get off the ‘grey list.’
Analyst and columnist, Dr Mohammad Taqi, in a recent column notes that Pakistan “flunked the critical provision for “investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups. Nothing shows the wilful and blatant flouting of that provision better than the kid-glove treatment that the UN-sanctioned terror group Jamat-ud-Da’wah (JuD) continues to receive in Pakistan.”
As Taqi writes, “A bombing rocked Lahore’s Jauhar Town residential neighbourhood on June 23, killing at least four people and injuring over two dozen. While the Pakistani media fumbled with the nature of the blast, the Indian outlets – as if on cue – swiftly reported it as an attack targeting Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the JuD, who is supposed to be serving a sentence in a Lahore prison. With visuals showing destroyed and damaged buildings and the size of the crater, and eyewitness reports of flying shrapnel and pellets, it was abundantly clear that it was not a gas cylinder or pipeline explosion but a terror attack using a massive bomb, likely planted in car. Finally, the provincial police chief conceded that the bomb had gone off near the residence of a high-value target. He stopped short of naming Hafiz Saeed but accused foreign agencies – a euphemism for the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – for the attack.”
Further, “This would not be the first time a JuD leader was living large during his sentence. Saeed himself has had numerous cushy house arrests. The 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind and chief of the JuD’s Lashkar-e-Tayyabba (LeT) wing, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi sired a son while incarcerated at Rawalpindi’s high-security Adiala jail. The boy too is said to be a jihadist in training and the LeT operatives have nicknamed him Maulana Adialavi, after the prison where he was conceived. While the Pakistani law enforcement agencies continue to hunt for the plotters and perpetrators, the Hafiz Saeed angle has virtually disappeared from the media, which is tightly controlled by the army. After all, the terror attack is a huge embarrassment for the country’s intelligence agencies.”
Finally, Taqi notes, “Banishing both jihadist activities and the criticism of them from the public discourse points to the Pakistan army still wanting to have its jihadist cake and eat it too. The JuD remains the army’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Taliban its trusted proxy, and the HQN is the ISI’s veritable arm. The post-9/11 experience and its duplicitous but deft handling of the American presence in the region shows that the Pakistan army is willing to go to any length to keep these force-multipliers, who remain deeply loyal to it, intact.”