The US State Department Country Reports on Terrorism 2019 has punched holes in a claim that Pakistan made to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier this year -- that terrorist Masood Azhar is “missing”.
The US report says that Pakistan “did not take action against other known terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack 'project manager' Sajid Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan”.
The report also raps Pakistan for continuing to act as “safe harbour” for other regionally focused terrorist groups. It allowed groups targeting India, “including LeT and its affiliated front organisations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), to operate from its territory”, said the report.
However, the report added that Pakistan took “modest steps” in 2019 to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused militant groups from conducting large-scale attacks following the February attack on a security convoy in Jammu and Kashmir linked to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Shortly afterward, global terror financing watchdog FATF decided to keep Pakistan in the "Grey List" as it has failed to check flow of money to terror groups like the LeT and the JeM, officials said. The decision was taken at the Financial Action Task Force's third and final plenary held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The direct mention of JeM to Pulwama also endorses India’s claim that the attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed was carried out by the Azhar-headed terror outfit. Pakistan had “rejected Indian allegations”, calling them “knee-jerk and pre-conceived.”
As reported by News18.com in February, Pakistan had told the FATF task force that Azhar and his family were missing, so no action could be taken against him. Intelligence sources had told News18 that if Pakistan lies would be unmasked if they repeat such claims as India had the exact coordinates of Azhar.
Sources had said that Azhar was in Chakshahzad and was sheltered by the Pakistan ISI. Azhar was designated a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council 1267 sanctions committee in May last year after the Pulwama Terror attack.