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Sunday, May 19, 2024

US lauds Pakistan’s Commitment to End Terrorism in Country

The United States has welcomed the arrests of the top JeT leaders, and the announcements have come just before Pakistan is due for a compliance review at a 2-day session of the Financial Action Task Force in Paris.

Washington has commended Islamabad’s decision to arrest four leaders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) organization and observed that such measures will aid in enhancing ties between Pakistan and the United States.

After welcoming Pakistan’s decision to arrest the leaders, the statement issued by the United States also added the name of LeT chief, Hafiz Saeed, to the list of accused that Washington demands to be punished for their alleged involvement in terrorist financing and abetting.

Alice G Wells, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said, “We welcome news that Pakistan arrested 4 LeT leaders. The victims of LeT’s vicious attacks deserve to see these individuals prosecuted now, along with LeT leader Hafiz Saeed.”

Washington Welcomes LeT Arrests

In another tweet, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs reiterated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent vow to eradicate terrorism abettors and financers from the country.

Ms. Wells said, “As Imran Khan has said, Pakistan, for its own future, must prevent militant groups from operating on its soil.”

On Thursday, the law enforcement agencies revealed that the “top four leaders” of the proscribed LeT group have been arrested on charges of terror financing. The agencies revealed that this decision will place the “entire core leadership” of the organization on trial.

Media reports have identified the four top leaders as Professor Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Salam, Yahya Aziz, and Mohammad Ashraf.

Speaking to the press in Lahore, a spokesperson for the Punjab wing of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), said, “The LeT Chief Hafiz Saeed is already imprisoned, and facing trial for the offenses of terror financing. Now, the entire core leadership of the LeT will soon be on trial.”

Read more: Not Economy, Not Terrorism, Dengue is Proving to be Imran Khan’s Failure

These arrests were announced days before a critical two-day session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization that monitors global financial transactions to curb money laundering and terror financing. The session began on Saturday and will conclude on October 15th.

The Pakistani delegation is being led by the Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar, who arrived in Paris earlier today. Azhar will present Pakistan’s compliance report on the 40 recommendations put forward by FATF to curb terror financing and money laundering.

Earlier in June, the FATF had placed Pakistan in its much-dreaded grey list, which lists all the countries that need to take immediate measures to curb terror financing. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government has undertaken multiple measures to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, and the compliance report will be reviewed in the two-day FATF session, held in the French capital.

Pakistan maintains that it has complied with majority of the recommendations put forward by the FATF. A report of the Asia Pacific Group (APG, released on Oct. 2nd, Pakistan has made notable progress since October 2018. The report states that Pakistan is fully compliant on one recommendation, the Financial Institutions Secrecy Law, partially compliant with 26 recommendations, and largely compliant on nine recommendations.

Read more: FATF War: Pakistan Fights for White list – India Lobby For Blacklist

Pakistan seeks to avoid being downgraded to the FATF blacklist, like North Korea and Iran, as economic sanctions would cripple the struggling economy, casting a devastating spell on Pakistan’s trade deficit. The statement issued by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) is also in line with the Pakistani law enforcement agencies’ agenda to investigate the allegations of terror financing and building assets through fundraising.