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Has FATF warning put state machinery in aggressive mode?

Paris-based FATF’s warning on the risks being faced by the global financial system had virtually put the country’s entire machinery into an aggressive mode to show tangible progress within a short span of time.

FATF

News Desk |

In February, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had warned Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.

Paris-based FATF’s warning on the risks being faced by the global financial system had virtually put the country’s entire machinery into an aggressive mode to show tangible progress within a short span of time.

While the meetings were taking place, the government had announced a ban on Jamatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insanyat Foundation (FIF) to partially address the concerns raised by India that Pakistan supported these and six similar organizations, including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) or at least considered them low-risk entities.

The experts have said that a potential blacklisting by the FATF could result in a freeze of capital inflows to Pakistan, jeopardizing the financing assurances under the program.

A division bench of the Lahore High Court had sought replies from the Ministry of Interior, Punjab home department and CTD on a petition of Hafiz Saeed and his seven aides challenging an FIR carrying a charge of terror financing.

Other risks, including those related to domestic security conditions, global trade, growth in major trading partners, oil prices and tighter global financial conditions, could exacerbate these challenges.

CTD Arrests JuD’s Hafiz Saeed in Terrorism Financing Case

On Wednesday, Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested the JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in a terrorism financing case while he was on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala.

The officials of Punjab CTD and Punjab chief minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill confirmed to the media that Saeed was arrested near Gujranwala. “The main charge is that he is gathering funds for banned outfits, which is illegal,” Gill said.

Following his arrest, the CTD spokesperson said, Saeed was sent to prison on judicial custody remand after the CTD produced him before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Gujranwala. While sending Saeed to jail on remand, the court has directed CTD to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet within the stipulated time.

Read more: Terror financing and terrorism: Hafiz Saeed and 12 others booked

On Monday, an ATC in Lahore had granted pre-arrest bail to Saeed and three others in a case pertaining to the outfit’s alleged illegal use of land for its seminary, against surety bonds of Rs50,000 each.

JuD Leaders Booked

On July 3, Dawn reported, top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, Mohammad Ayub Sheikh, Zafar Iqbal, Syed Luqman Ali Shah, Abdul Salam, Abdul Ghaffar and Abdul Qudoos Shahid were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The CTD, the paper said, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, had declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organizations and trusts including, Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested the JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in a terrorism financing case while he was on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala.

In addition, it was reported that these non-profit organizations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.

LHC Seeks Reply on Hafiz Saeed’s Petition

On July 15, a division bench of the Lahore High Court had sought replies from the Ministry of Interior, Punjab home department and CTD on a petition of Hafiz Saeed and his seven aides challenging an FIR carrying a charge of terror financing.

The petitioners’ counsel A.K. Dogar had contended that the facts narrated in the impugned FIR registered on July 1, 2019, illegally described them as members of LeT and leveled unlawful allegations of terror financing.

Read more: Hafiz Saeed approaches LHC to avoid possible arrest

While referring to a 2009 judgment by a full bench of LHC against the then detention of Hafiz Saeed, he said that the petitioners were not members of LeT. He added that LHC through another judgment issued in 2003 had also held that Hafiz Saeed left the leadership of LeT on Dec 24, 2001 while the organization was banned on Jan 14, 2002.

Subsequently, the court directed the respondents to furnish written replies by July 30.

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