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FATF Extends Pakistan in Grey List for Terror Financing

An senior air warrior and political observer who has the pulse of the region and can sense a change when it comes.



Pakistan continues to be the bad child of the world. It is one of the few countries in the world singled out for financing terror groups and terrorist leaders. This will be an embarrassment to Imran Khan the Pakistan Prime Minister but in real terms, the blame falls on general Bajwa the de-facto ruler of Pakistan. Ever since general Ayub seized power, the Pakistan army has been directly ruling the country for half of its 74 years after independence and when not in direct power has been driving the government from the backseat. As pointed out by eminent jurists, Pakistan's supreme court is the only court in the world that has justified military rule in the last hundred years on the 'doctrine of necessity.' In case Pakistan continues now in the FATF list as a financer of terrorism the blame must go to the Army.

FATF stands for Financial Action Task Force. It is also known by its French name, Groupe d'action financière (GAFI). It is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. In 2001, its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.

At the time of inception, it had 16 members which have now grown to 39 in 2021 and includes countries that are friendly to Pakistan like Turkey and China. The FATF issues two lists called the blacklist and the greylist. Blacklist is applied to those states which sponsor terrorism and do not listen to any advice like North Korea. The grey list is applicable to those countries that are financing terrorism and terror groups and they are given an action plan to remedy what they are doing. Pakistan has been on the grey list three or four times earlier and was given a reprieve and then again included in the list. In the last meeting of the FATF, the group has extended Pakistan's classification and it continues in the greylist as the group feels that Pakistan has not taken all the required steps to stop terror financing.


Terror financing

The first point we've to understand is that the FATF has no special grudge to put Pakistan on the greylist. They have some evidence that must be clinching that the Pakistan government is financing or allowing finances to be given to terrorist organizations that operate outside the country.

Terror financing in Pakistan is a complex web and to unravel it is not easy. The Pakistan government not without a nod from the army, allows funds to be collected and given to organizations that target India and the United States.

Terror financing started during the time of General Zia ul- Haq when he formulated a plan to consider terrorist groups targeting Pakistan's so-called enemies as a 'defense in depth'. Over the years the policy backfired as the government failed to realize that all terrorists are the same and there is nothing like good and bad terrorists. A section of the terrorists began to target the Pakistan state, asking for the imposition of sharia and the return of the caliphate. This is the time the Pakistan government woke up and launched operations against them but at the same time, it went soft on those groups that were operating outside Pakistan against their enemies.


Modus operandi

The entire web is not easy to decipher and stop. Much of what is happening is known to the Army, maybe not to the Prime Minister.

Militant groups have support networks all over the country. They have set up charity organizations that are registered and use them to collect funds on the plea the money is used for charitable purposes. They have a public support base as well.

Money is collected as donations from many sources. Donation boxes are placed in shops and other business centers. Earlier almost two decades back these boxes were called the ‘Jihad Fund Box’ but after 9/11, the government had to crackdown. These groups now collect funds in the name of charity.

Funds are collected in cash and in kind. Big businessmen also lend a hand.

Most of these groups have obtained legal permissions from courts by claiming they have no association with militants. The government knows it's a hoax but takes no action. There are also elements in the army that supports these groups. Donald Trump the US president had accused Islamabad of being a liar. He went on to add that the United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.

Joe Biden has not changed anything from what Trump stated. Incidentally, the USA is also part of the FATF.

Last word

Pakistan has been on the FATF list for more than a decade. I think it was taken off the list but then brought back three or four times. The government has been accused of treating terrorists with kid gloves. The trial of the accused in the Bombay blasts is continuing for the last 10 years and in the case of Nawaz Sharif the Prime Minister, the entire proceedings were completed in six months and he was awarded 10 years jail. One can see the lopsided nature of politics in Pakistan and for the good of Pakistan, it's important it gets out of the quagmire of terrorism and terror financing. However, the Pakistan government has made some effort to stop terror financing but the FATF feels it is not enough.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 27, 2021:

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MAB from Pakistan on June 27, 2021:

we are waiting for your article about positive side of Pakistan

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 27, 2021:

Ek Jadoon, what a wonderful comment. Yes, I have friends in Pakistan and very soon you will see an article on the positive side of Pakistan. We should not forget we are from the same racial stock with similar language and food.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 27, 2021:

Bill, you are correct, it's the same everywhere.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 27, 2021:

I have very little trust in any government official in any country. I wish I had more faith in them, but I don't, nor will I ever. I have seen too many lies during my lifetime.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on June 27, 2021:

In this world of hypocrisy, no one knows that who actually finance the terrorism. So, I would say that don't be so sure about Pakistan. I am not saying that there is nothing wrong in Pakistan, but there are many good things there to discuss. I hope you will cover them too.

Stay safe and healthy...

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 27, 2021:

Pamela, so nice you spared time and commented.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 27, 2021:

This is an interesting article, MG, I didn't know about Pakistan supporting terrorism, and collecting money probably from some unsuspecting people. I always learn something from your articles. Thank you.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 27, 2021:

Thank you, John, it's always a pleasure to interact with you.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on June 27, 2021:

MG,I read your article:"Hark Back to the Past: How the USA Lost Influence in Iraq" but can't find it on the feed to leave a comment, so I am doing that here. I found it very well-written, informative and interesting. Thank you for sharing.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 27, 2021:

Akbar, Nice of you to have commented on this article I am unhappy to read about the state of the Ahmediyya community in Pakistan. The blame for this must go to ZA Bhutto. I also hope that Pakistan will get out of its obsession and come back to normalcy with the army sent back to the barracks.

Akbar on June 27, 2021:

I am an Ahmadi from Pakistan. This is a nice article and eye-opener the government is not only turning a blind eye to the terror financing but also persecuting our community. I wonder if you could write about it.

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