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The global terror financing watchdog, and also the the US give for continuing to serve as a safe haven for regionally focused terrorist groups

NEW DELHI, 24 JUNE. The US State department said in a new report released on Wednesday that Pakistan continues to serve as a safe haven for regionally focused terrorist groups and allows outfits including the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaishe- Mohammed to operate from its territory.

The US indictment of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s track record in fighting terrorists comes against the backdrop of Islamabad’s brazen support for terrorists killed in encounters with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s foreign office counts them as “innocents”.

Wednesday’s assessment by the US state department, which counted Pakistan as one of the countries that provide safe harbours for terrorists, is unlikely to go down well with Islamabad that faces a review by the anti-terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force in October. Islamabad was given a four-month reprieve after the FATF had to put off a scheduled review of Pakistan due to the coronavirus pandemic. The plenary was held under the Chinese Presidency of Xiangmin Liu.

Pakistan, along with Iran, North Korea and Syria are trying to obtain necessary products and know-how for nuclear weapons through illegal procurement efforts in Germany, according to the annual report of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution for the German State of Baden-Württemberg.

The report said Pakistan had for many years been operating an extensive military nuclear weapons and carrier programme. “This is primarily directed against the “arch enemy” India, which also possesses nuclear weapons,” the report said.

The German report noted Pakistan’s dependence on acquisition of western technology and procedures for maintenance and development and warned there could be efforts to illegally procure them in Germany.

“In addition to acquisition of products (dual-use goods), the secondment of scientists to universities, institutes or research establishments is also important. This also applies to institutions in Baden- Württemberg,” the report said.

In its Congressionalmandated annual report 2019 Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department noted that Pakistan had taken modest steps to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused terror groups following the Pulwama suicide bombing in February 2019 that landed Imran Khan in a spot when the Jaish-e- Mohammed claimed responsibility for the bombing in Kashmir. But it hadn’t gone far enough.

“Thus far, however, Islamabad has yet to take decisive actions against Indian and Afghanistan-focused militants who would undermine their operational capability,” the report said.

It also noted that Pakistan’s pledge under its 2015 action plan to dismantle all terrorist organizations without delay and discrimination was still unfulfilled. Pakistani authorities had indicted Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his associates in December last year but had “made no effort to use domestic authorities to prosecute other terrorist leaders such as JeM founder Masood Azhar and Sajid Mir, the mastermind of LeT’s 2008 Mumbai attacks”.

Both of them, the report said, “are widely believed to reside in Pakistan under the protection of the state, despite government denials”.

“Several terrorist groups that focus on attacks outside the country continue to operate from Pakistani soil in 2019, including the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” the state department report said.

The report indicted the Imran Khan government and military for their inaction, underlining that they “acted inconsistently with respect to terrorist safe havens throughout the country” and did not take sufficient action to stop certain terrorist groups and individuals from openly operating in the country.

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