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Pakistan’s ‘Safe Haven’ Problem

by Newsweek Pakistan
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File Photo. Aref Karimi—AFP

Islamabad has a ways to go before the world can be convinced it is taking effective against terror financiers

The United States, together with Britain, France and Germany, are going to decide in Paris whether to place Pakistan on a global terror-financing watchlist at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The member states are concerned about Pakistan’s “deficiencies” in combating “money laundering and terrorist financing” and in preventing terrorists from attacking inside Afghanistan from its territory. Pakistan wants to know more about the complaints about its “safe havens,” but the United States seems unwilling to share information while appreciating Pakistan’s disbandment of U.N.-sanctioned Jamaatud Dawa and its charity adjuncts.

Pakistan has a problem with Washington over accusations of Islamabad sheltering Afghan militants who attack inside Afghanistan across the Durand Line. Both sides seem to be on a different wavelength on the issue, but the fact that the U.S. is supported by Britain, France and Germany at the FATF is a matter of great concern and Pakistan must take steps to disarm this negative alliance against it. The past doesn’t help because of willful neglect of complaints about such organizations as Jamaatud Dawa, the Afghan Taliban-in-exile and Pakistani Taliban, whom it used inside its territory. For instance, political parties such as Pakistan Peoples Party and the Awami National Party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were virtually shut down by the Taliban while the PTI, friendly to the terrorists, were allowed freedom to contest and win the 2013 election.

The world is less inclined to believe Pakistan because of its lack of credibility. It denied that Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad and Mullah Omar—and still denies Dawood Ibrahim’s presence—in Karachi. Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist Masood Azhar is not supposed to be in Pakistan either and the Haqqani Network’s commanders are found and killed on its territory by drones. Pakistan’s recent step to ban Jamaatud Dawa goes some ways to disarm international suspicion and hopefully it will change tack sufficiently to duck any economic sanctions coming its way.

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1 comment

Srinath February 22, 2018 - 9:54 pm

What price is Pakistan State prepared to pay for Hafiz Sayed, Masood Azhar,etc? How long is it prepared to face crisis after crisis for their sake (or for safe havens)? Till this issue is resolved, Pakistan will remain on the hamster wheel

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