Pakistan took a major step in declaring Lashkar-e-Tayiba boss, Hafiz Saeed as a terrorist. The move comes ahead of the crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force to be held next week in Paris. The FATF is an intergovernmental body based in Paris which sets the global standards for fighting illicit finance.
For Pakistan, the meeting is an extremely crucial one. Already facing the heat after US President Donald Trump cut of military aid, Pakistan would crumble further economically if put on the global terror financing watch list. Pakistan was on this list between 2012 and 2015 as a result of which it could not conduct international business and also involve itself in cross-border transactions.
India has repeatedly argued that Saeed has been raising money for terror through charity. His organisations, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Falah-e-Insaniyat were just frontal outfits of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Pakistan had however denied these allegations and let these outfits function normally.
The big question now is whether this move to ban Saeed and take over his so-called charities would have any effect at the FATF meet. The United States has in fact put forward a motion to place Pakistan on the global terrorist financing watchlist. In fact this motion was put forward by the US and UK following which Germany and France were persuaded to co-sponsor it, Reuters reported while quoting Pakistan's de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail.
The report also stated that Pakistan would be working with these nations for the nomination to be withdrawn. Ismail also said that they were hopeful that even if the US did not withdraw its nomination, Pakistan would be prevail and not be on that list.
India would watch the developments at the Paris meet closely. If placed on the list, Pakistan would be dealt with a major blow. India however says that only placing Saeed on the terror list would not suffice. What about groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen which have been given free launch pads and finances in Pakistan, an official asks. Pakistan has a long way to go and hence placing it on the list until it mends its ways completely would go along in the war against terror, the officer also says.
If Pakistan is placed on the list, then it would make it extremely difficult for foreign investors and companies to conduct business in the country. This would mean that anyone wanting to do business would need to go through scrutiny as a result of which most investors would automatically back out.
Washington says that as per Resolution 1,267 all states are required to freeze the assets of people and organisations on a list established by the resolution. Pakistan on Monday amended its anti-terrorism law to ban terrorist groups and outfits that are listed as terrorists by the United Nations.