New Delhi: While it appears that Pakistan may escape the blacklist as the global financial watchdog FATF meets at the Paris plenary, multiple sources have indicated that India is ready to expose Islamabad with evidence of sham claims to escape the blacklisting.
Starting with the conviction of 26/11 attacks mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, India will press upon the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that his conviction by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore can go into appeal. This effectively means that the five-and-a-half year jail term is not the final word on the matter, clearly putting the irreversibility of action under question.
India has already highlighted the timing of the conviction just four days before the Paris plenary from February 16-21. In response to the conviction, sources had said that the decision was made on the eve of the FATF plenary meeting. Hence, the efficacy of this decision remains to be seen.
Pakistan had earlier told the FATF that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) founder Masood Azhar, whose outfit was behind the 2001 Parliament attack and last year’s Pulwama terror attack on CRPF soldiers, was missing along with his family, and hence action can't be taken against him.
Indian government officials said they will be watching keenly if the position is reiterated by Pakistan in the Paris plenary. If Islamabad repeats the claim, New Delhi will share the exact coordinates of Masood Azhar, intelligence sources said.
Source said Masood Azhar and his family are in Chakshahzad on the Islamabad border close to Rawalpindi. He has been sheltered in an ISI safe house, sources added.
India also has information that 26/11 attacks plotter Zakir Ur Rehman Lakhvi is being sheltered by ISI in Burma town. No action has been shown against him too by Pakistan under the pretext that he is untraceable.
Masood, a UN-designated terrorist, has lately allowed his brother Rauf Azgar to take charge of Jaish operations, but Pakistan has failed to act against him. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say Rauf has launched almost 100 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
A source told News18 that the perception seems to be that Pakistan will get a breather with US support at the FATF, but India is well-prepared to show that Pakistan has not taken any credible action against terror groups and terror commanders.
Another source said that most countries in the FATF remain worried about Pakistan's progress. The task force that was to evaluate Pakistan's progress based on the 27 agenda items it had promised to fulfill to curb terror financing has found that Islamabad failed on 13 counts. They believe that no substantial action has been taken as yet.
One reason that can be cited to keep Pakistan off the blacklist as articulated by principal deputy Secretary of State Alice Wells is that, "if Pakistan were to not meet FATF obligations or were to fail and be blacklisted, it would be devastating for Pakistan's economic reform program and for its ability to attract investors."
She added that "We've been pleased to see the progress by Pakistan towards fulfilling FATF obligations."
However, with India well-armed to expose Pakistan in Paris, it will ensure Islamabad remains in the grey list. This essentially means there will be continued pressure on Pakistan to meet commitments on curbing terror financing.