Washington, November 2: As Pakistan continues to be safe haven for terrorists, the country has been countering the allegations repeatedly. But United States has been keen on showcasing how Pakistan has failed in its attempt to take strong action against terrorists. In a report released by the US State Department, it stated that Pakistan has failed to ‘significantly limit’ major terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) from funding, recruiting and training their fighters on its soil. Also, it has allowed candidates "overtly" affiliated with their front organisations to contest the general elections in July last year.
According to the ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2018’, Pakistan has failed to restrict the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network from operating in safe havens on its soil. This is despite Islamabad’s open support for a political reconciliation between the Afghan Taliban and Afghan government. While the report noted Pakistan’s efforts in connection to the implementation of conditions laid down by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it slammed the country for failing to uniformly implement UN sanctions against outfits like LeT and its affiliates.
The report state, “Although the Pakistani government voiced support for political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, it did not restrict the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network (HQN) from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening the US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.”
Referring to the Milli Muslim League (MML) founded by global terrorist Hafiz Saeed, which fielded candidates in the 2018 polls, “The government failed to significantly limit Lashkar e- Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) from raising money, recruiting, and training in Pakistan and allowed candidates overtly affiliated with LeT front organisations to contest the July general elections.”
The document highlighted significant terror attacks in Pakistan in 2018, which was conducted by several outfits like Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), Islamic State`s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), and the sectarian group Lashkar-e- Jhangvi al-Alami (LJA). The report said, “Pakistan experienced significant terrorist threats in 2018, although the number of attacks and casualties has continued to decrease from previous years. The major terrorist groups that focused on conducting attacks in Pakistan included Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul- Ahrar (JuA), Islamic State`s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), and the sectarian group Lashkar-e- Jhangvi al-Alami (LJA). ISIS-K claimed several major attacks against Pakistani targets, some of which may have been conducted in collaboration with other terrorist groups.”
Terror groups conducted attacks against governmental, non-governmental, and diplomatic targets in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, it continued. "Groups located in Pakistan, but focused on conducting attacks outside the country, included the Afghan Taliban, HQN, LeT and its affiliated front organisations, and JeM. Terrorists used a range of tactics to attack individuals, schools, markets, government institutions, and places of worship, including IEDs, VBIEDs, suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, and rocket-propelled grenades," the report underlined.
The terror outfits targeted civilians, journalists, community leaders, security forces, law enforcement agents, and schools killing and injuring hundreds in 2018, the report noted adding, that religious minorities faced significant threats from the terror groups. The report said that Pakistan, being a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a FATF-style regional body, agreed to implement international standards to combat money laundering, terrorism finance, and proliferation finance.
While the country "criminalises terrorist financing through the Antiterrorism Act, the implementation remains uneven". "In June 2018, the FATF placed Pakistan on its `grey list` for deficiencies across its AML/CFT regimes, specifically citing concerns over Pakistan`s failure to fully implement the UN Security Council ISIL (Daesh) and al-Qaeda sanctions regime.
FATF noted that UN-listed entities, including LeT and its affiliates, were not effectively prohibited from raising funds in Pakistan, or being denied financial services," it said. "Although Pakistan`s laws technically comply with international AML/CFT standards, authorities failed to uniformly implement UN sanctions related to designated entities and individuals such as LeT and its affiliates, which continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds," the report noted.