No more excuse, blacklist Pakistan

Pakistan’s latest attempt to deceive the international community on curbing terrorism was
exposed by its own high court when six senior leaders of global terrorist organisation,
Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), were released for want of reliable evidence. Pakistan has been
using its alleged action against LeT to wriggle out from the possibility of being blacklisted
by global anti-terrorist financing watchdog, FATF.
With the Lahore High Court throwing out the conviction of LeT leaders and setting them
free, Pakistan’s claims of taking action against terrorist groups in compliance with the
directives of FATF have proved to be false.
When FATF leaned heavily on Pakistan and threatened to blacklist the country for failing
to take anti-terrorism finance measures, Pakistan acted as if it was serious about putting
down terrorist groups like LeT. Several leaders of LeT, including its notorious chief Hafiz
Saeed, were charge-sheeted. The trial court was quick to convict them and sentence them
to various terms of prison early this year. Those who knew the ways of Pakistan understood
it as another ploy to escape international sanction. The FATF, goaded by allies of Pakistan
like China, chose to be lenient towards Pakistan. The latest high court order has shown how
wrong it was to be taken in by Pakistan’s skullduggery.
Pakistan has always been playing this deceitful game when it came to prosecuting terrorist
groups. LeT is a creation of Pakistan Army and has carried out terrorist attacks at the behest
of the army. Even the diabolical Mumbai attack of 2008 was carried out by LeT terrorists
with the connivance of the Pakistan Army. In the recent Afghan civil war, LeT played a
major role in supporting the Taliban’s military offensive against the elected government in
This is not the first time that a superior court in Pakistan has thrown out a case against LeT.
On several occasions, under pressure from the international community, Pakistan had filed
cases against LeT and even had its leader, Hafiz Saeed imprisoned only to be freed by the
courts on the question of evidence. In the latest case also, the court questioned the reliability
of the main prosecution witness and other evidence before setting the terrorists free. Other
similar cases are likely to meet with the same fate. Saeed too may be set free soon.
These is a pattern which Pakistan follows—files cases against terrorist leaders under
pressure and then make the cases so weak against them that courts would find it easier to
dismiss the charges. The army has a significant role in making prosecution cases
ineffective. Even if the civilian investigating agencies took courage to probe such cases,
the army refused to cooperate and often blocked any investigation that came close to
unveiling its relationship with the terrorist group. This is what happened in the Mumbai
Now, the state will make some noises about challenging the court order in the Supreme
Court and might even file an appeal for show. Without credible evidence, which often the
army holds, no court would entertain an appeal. Pakistan will then feign at the next FATF
meeting its helplessness in the face of judicial decision. The only way Pakistan could be
made to keep its promises on curbing anti-terrorist financing is for FATF to blacklist it
without any more concessions. The issue is not about Pakistan’s terrorist association alone,
it is also about the legitimacy of institutions like FATF. Failure to blacklist would amount
to negation of FATF’s authority and complete failure of global efforts to curb anti-terrorist

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