Pakistan is no longer on the FATF gray list, but will Leopard change its place in proxy terrorism?

Islamabad: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed (October 21) Pakistan from its “grey list” after more than four years.

The multilateral watchdog said Islamabad would continue its work to further improve systems to combat terrorist financing and money laundering.

Following the FATF’s two-day plenary meeting in Paris, the body’s chairman, T. Raja Kumar of Singapore, announced that Pakistan was removed from the gray list in accordance with a consensus decision of the 39 member countries. of the supervisory body.

The reforms carried out by Islamabad have been good for the security and stability of Pakistan and the region, he said.
While Pakistan may be off the “Grey List”, its history of supporting terrorist individuals and entities shows that it is unlikely to turn into a good cop overnight!

A recent article by Aparna Rawal for South Asia Voices (October 17) warns that the deep state in Pakistan remains synonymous with a complex web of terror, narcotics and funding that spans the globe. At the forefront of Pakistani operations are Company D and the Haqqani Network.

Most of these crime syndicates thrive on extortion, violence, kidnapping, and even assassination while funneling funds through formal channels like charities or legitimate business ventures. A quick look into the past shows how the Deep State in Pakistan has used terror money laundering and narcotics trafficking in its global operations.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan is known to support various entities, terrorist groups or racketeers that would benefit their well-articulated “Gazwa-i-Hind” (bleed India with a thousand cuts) strategy against India and which will also allow them to exert their influence in the regions of South Asia by all possible means.

This is also one of the reasons why Dawood Ibrahim has proven effective. To be indispensable to the ISI, he funded ISI-funded terrorist organizations, while receiving ISI protection in return.

This arrangement served the dual purpose of, on the one hand, providing a front for the ISI’s dealings with terrorist groups and, on the other hand, moving the necessary funds to covertly support the groups.

Since 2016, the ISI has been operating aggressively and covertly in activities aimed at destabilizing India. There have been many Pakistani sleeper cells active in India, with the affiliations of D.

The transport of weapons and the financing of terrorism are becoming increasingly evident through the hawala channels. Several ISI-trained components are tasked with carrying out reconnaissance missions against India.

Recently, the hand of D-ISI company has been exposed through various terrorist module crackdowns carried out by Indian security agencies.

On September 22, an ISI agent, Lal Mohammed, was shot dead in Nepal. He delivered counterfeit Indian currency from Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh to India.

Lal provided logistical support to the ISI and had ties to Dawood Ibrahim and his company D.

Besides Company D’s own terrorist activities, the organization maintained relationships with other terrorist groups and even made donations to them through their front companies.

On September 26, Riyaz Bhatti was also arrested in an extortion case.

In addition to henchmen employed for extortion and other criminal activities, Dawood has several agents who make investments on his behalf around the world.

Rasheed Saeed is a known agent of Company D who would handle the company’s revenue under Chhota Shakeel.

Saeed’s cover was the managing director of a Mumbai-based events company known for organizing promotional events for Bollywood films.

Tiger Memon continues to be a partner in a company that exports steel. Recently, five of Company D’s agents were arrested by Mumbai’s criminal division, Anti Extortion Cell.

This happened, months after Dawood’s close aide and Chota Shakeel’s brother-in-law, Salim Fruit was arrested in August 2022 by the NIA. He was accused of extorting Rs 62 lakh.

In this context, it is important to mention that most of the money laundering cases have their origins in the clandestine support given to the mujahideen in Afghanistan by the Pakistani ISI.

The informal channels stem from the mutual understanding of support for the mujahideen cause, which was not limited to a particular region, but extended to a global network for waging jihad.

For several years, the Pakistani ISI funneled money to the mujahideen in Afghanistan with the help of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, founded by Agha Hasan Abedi, a Pakistani businessman.

Its main objective was apparently to finance armed groups abroad.

The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was also responsible for transferring funds and arms to the Iran-Contra arms deal.

From the 1970s to the 1980s, Bank of Credit and Commerce International had implemented a counterparty approach with all of its clients. It would provide unsecured loans to its wealthy clients in exchange for access to global markets. Among their clients was a Saudi financier who received a loan of $500 million and in return was entrusted with the acquisition of a majority stake on behalf of Bank of Credit and Commerce International in two American banks.

The organization became famous for providing unsecured loans to wealthy Middle Eastern investors.

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, another BCCI client, was able to use their service to transfer most of his oil revenues to investments globally.

It also included clandestine funding of politically volatile projects such as Pakistan’s nuclear program in the 1980s.

In June 2018, the FATF had placed Pakistan on its list of countries under heightened watch, or the so-called gray list, for its failure to combat the financing of terrorism, in particular the activities of terrorist groups designated by the UN. such as Lashkar-e-Taiba. and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Pakistan received two action plans with 34 actions to strengthen its ability to combat both terrorist fundraising and money laundering. The FATF action against Pakistan demonstrates the urgent global need to reduce terrorist financing to contain terrorist activities in the South Asian region.

The lesson learned is that while Pakistan is off the gray list, hidden below the surface, business is business as usual for the deep state. Nothing should ever change in Pakistan!

(IANS)

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