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Terrorism Watchdog fights Pakistan with the help of militants



NEW DELHI – Pakistan is not doing enough to curb terrorist financing and money laundering, a global financial regulator said in a stern warning that reflects the country's re-examination of its links with militant groups.

The Financial Action Task Force A Paris-based watchdog hinted that Pakistan could be faced with consequences – such as on the group's blacklist – if it had not taken specific steps by May.

Even if one is on the watchdog's gray list, it would have consequences that make it difficult for Pakistan to raise money in international markets at a time when the economy is booming and credit is urgently needed. A blacklist could lead to sanctions by Western countries, including the United States.

The warning comes a week after India threatened to retaliate against a bombing of Pakistan that killed at least 40 Indian troops in Kashmir. The militant group that took responsibility, Jaish-e-Muhammad or Army of Muhammad, operates in Pakistan, where it collects money under pseudonyms, according to American and Indian authorities.

Khurram Hussain, columnist on Dawn, Pakistan's leading English The newspaper said the statement by the Financial Action Task Force had been the "hottest" for ten years.

"It seems someone has used up the patience with Pakistan somewhere and channeled the FATF," he said. "Previous governments have tried to take the same measures to list these groups as terrorist units and limit their activities, but have failed."

The 19459006 declaration specifically named Jaish-e-Muhammad – a rare call. For the group – and also for the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – who accuse India and the US of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed more than 160 people ,

Pakistan has no "proper understanding" of the risks that terrorist groups are taking, and does not need to do "corrective action and sanctions" against them, the statement added.

The Pakistani authorities then called for cash couriers and prevented them from bringing illegal money out of the country. that effective action be taken against groups that are being prosecuted for funding terrorists; and that suspected groups are denied resources to launder or collect money for terrorist activities.

Pakistan was placed on the watchdog's gray list last year for not opposing Lashkar-e-Taiba and his alleged political front, Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Fearing that the status on the gray list could be renewed, this week Pakistan renewed its bans on Jamaat-ud-Dawa and another subsidiary that had previously expired. But the task force resumed its reprimand hours later, signaling that the move was too late.

Although Pakistan had initially confiscated some assets from the groups last year, which were believed to be fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba. Efforts faded and the groups remain active.

The Pakistani finance minister responded on Twitter on Friday to the unusually harsh statement by the Financial Action Task Force, in which he said the group's executive committee had kept Pakistan blacklisted despite frantic efforts and lobbying on the gray list.

But the office of Finance Minister Asad Umar could make matters worse by not adjusting to the watchdog's goals.

The United Nations and the US Treasury consider Jaish. E-Muhammad a terrorist organization. Several steps taken by the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on the leader of the group, Masood Azhar, have failed because of vetoes from China, an ally of Pakistan.

But on Thursday night, the Security Council, including China, condemned the Jaish party. e-Muhammad attacking Indian soldiers in a powerful statement.

The Home Office, which felt increasing pressure on Jaish-e-Muhammad's activities in Pakistan, said on Friday night that the government had taken control of the group's headquarters in Punjab province. However, if past actions are clues, new moves like these are likely to be temporary and cosmetic. The Pakistani military denies the allegations of the United States to protect certain terrorist groups and to use them as a means to achieve foreign and domestic policy goals.

The United Nations is expected to submit a resolution in the coming weeks that will blacklist Mr Azhar, the Jaish-e-Muhammad leader, despite China's past week's Indian calls for a resumption of efforts to secure it punish, averted. Mr. Azhar's targeted address would make it harder for the group to raise money in Pakistan.

The financial working group will make a final decision later in the year on whether to remove Pakistan from its gray list or blacklist it altogether.


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