Thursday, October 21, 2021

Pakistan May Be Removed From FATF Greylist After Masood Azhar Declared Global Terrorist

Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar has been designated as a global terrorist under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1267 and all the key parties involved i.e. India, Pakistan, and China are set to benefit from the move.  A EurAsian Times analysis.

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Azhar was blacklisted by UNSC sanctions committee after Pakistan and China dropped their objections to the latest proposal put forward by the US, UK and France to designate Masood as a terrorist. Since 2008, the US attempted four times to list Azhar under the UNSC resolution 1267 but every time its move was thwarted by China.

“The Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’ish), al Qaeda, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities approved the addition of the entry specified below to its ISIL (Da’ish) and al Qaeda Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2368 (2017) and adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,” the UNSC said in a statement following the decision.

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Meanwhile, addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal confirmed the development, saying the UNSC decision entails three steps i.e. assets freeze, arms embargo and travel restrictions.

Pakistan rejected earlier proposals to list the JeM chief as they lacked technical criteria and were aimed at maligning Pakistan and hindering the movement in Kashmir, said Faisal and added that the proposals had a political agenda.

The spokesperson also reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to counter terrorism and underscored that no country in the world can match Pakistan’s efforts, achievements and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.

Since January 2019, the government had accelerated the implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism and extremism. The NAP includes a range of actions against UN proscribed entities and individuals. Notwithstanding the challenges, progress is being made and further work will continue in line with national consensus and interest.

Earlier in the day, a Pakistani official had said China withdrew its opposition after consultations with Pakistan. He further added that Pakistan agreed to the listing after its objections were addressed. Last month, Pakistan issued elaborate and comprehensive guidelines detailing steps to implement the UNSC resolution 1267 to curb terror financing – in a major move that aims at seeking the removal of its name from the  Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘greylist.’

Pakistan has been on the ‘grey list’ since June last year for failing to curb terror financing. In February, FATF—an inter-governmental body whose purpose is development and promotion of policies, at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and terror financing—expressed dissatisfaction with Islamabad’s efforts to implement its plan of action to get its name removed from the greylist.

The major concern of the FATF includes Pakistan’s lack of action or absence of comprehensive plan to freeze assets and impose other restrictions on individuals and entities listed by the UNSC Sanctions Committee under resolution 1267.

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