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TERROR AND PUNISHMENT

  • The Pakistani government, which for years tried to protect Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, finally got a conviction and a jail term for the cleric in two terror financing cases
  • The Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and his close aide Malik Zafar Iqbal have been sentenced to five-and-a-half years by an anti-terrorism court, vindicating India’s years-long position that Saeed had been using his organisations to finance terrorist activities.
  • It started cracking down on Saeed’s groups in 2018 only after it was threatened to be put on the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body fighting money laundering and terror financing. The government endorsed the UN ban on these organisations in February 2018
  • Unsurprisingly, the conviction of Saeed and Iqbal comes a few days ahead of another crucial FATF meeting. In the 2019 October meeting, the organisation had warned Islamabad to take “extra measures” for the “complete” elimination of terror financing and money laundering.
  • If the FATF is not satisfied with Pakistan’s actions, the country faces the risk of being downgraded to the “black list”, which could bring tough sanctions on its financial system
  • The fundamental problem is Pakistan’s policy of exporting terrorism to its neighbours for geopolitical leverage. Historically, Pakistan has adopted a dual policy towards terrorism — fight it at home but export it through proxies to its neighbours.
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September 2022
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