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FATF in Mind, Pakistan Imposes Sanctions on 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks Mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi

File photo of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. (AFP)

File photo of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. (AFP)

Similar orders have also been issued against Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar and 84 others who are members of ISL (ISIS/Daesh), Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Taliban, Haqqani Network and their associates.

Twelve years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Paksitan has finally imposed sanctions on the mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi. An order issued on August 18, seen by CNN-News18, calls for seizure of all his properties, freezing of bank accounts and restrictions on travel.

"Whereas the United Nations Security Council vide its resolutions has directed to apply travel restrictions, arms embargo and to freeze the funds and other financial resources of certain individuals and entities....(so) without delay and without prior notice, (freeze on) the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities (ordered)," it said.

Similar orders have also been passed against Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar and 84 others who are members of ISL (ISIS/Daesh), Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Taliban, Haqqani Network and their associates.

Indian agencies believe this belated action is to escape the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The Paris-based FATF put Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action by the end of 2019, but the deadline was extended later due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The notifications ratified a complete ban on all leaders and members of defunct Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hiding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas. The paper reported that Saeed, Azhar, Mullah Fazlullah (alias Mullah Radio), Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Muhammad Yahya Mujahid, Abdul Hakeem Murad, wanted by Interpol, Noor Wali Mehsud, Fazal Raheem Shah of Uzbekistan Liberation Movement, Taliban leaders Jalaluddin Haqqani, Khalil Ahmad Haqqani, Yahya Haqqani, and Ibrahim and his associates were on the list.

The notifications said the leadership of the defunct TTP, and other organisations including Lashkar-e-Taiba, JeM, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tariq Geedar group of TTP, Harkatul Mujahideen, Al Rasheed Trust, Al Akhtar Trust, Tanzim Jaish-al Mohajireen Ansar, Jamaat-ul Ahrar, Tanzim Khutba Imam Bukhari, Rabita Trust Lahore, Revival of Islamic Heritage Society of Pakistan, Al-Haramain Foundation Islamabad, Harkat Jihad Al Islami, Islami Jihad Group, Uzbekistan Islami Tehreek, Daesh of Iraq, Emirates of Tanzim Qafqaz working against Russia, and Abdul Haq of Uyghurs of Islamic Freedom Movement of China have been banned. Though various sanctions were in place against almost all of those listed by the UNSC, the government through the new notifications consolidated and documented the previously announced measures.

The UNSC Sanctions Committee deals with sanctions on entities and individuals declared as terrorists. All states, including Pakistan, are bound to implement sanctions that include assets freeze, arms embargo and travel ban. It is believed that the latest move by the Pakistan government is part of its efforts to wriggle out of the FATF's grey list.

On August 12, Pakistan Parliament's lower house passed four bills related to the tough conditions set by the FATF after the government and the opposition reached a consensus. The legislation was part of the efforts by Pakistan to move to the FATF's white list.

In its third and final plenary held virtually in June, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan in the grey list as Islamabad failed to check the flow of money to terror groups like LeT and JeM. The plenary was held under the Chinese Presidency of Xiangmin Liu. With Pakistan's continuation in the grey list, it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB, and the European Union, further enhancing its problems.

If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive by October, there is every possibility the global body may put it in the 'Black List' along with North Korea and Iran. The FATF currently has 39 members, including two regional organisations – the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.

(With inputs from PTI)