New Delhi: Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) generated by this newspaper has revealed that terror organisations ostensibly banned by the Pakistan government, continue to radicalise, recruit new cadre and accept donations for “religious” purposes. And this even as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary and working group meeting in Orlando, Florida on Sunday (16 June), is about to decide on whether or not to downgrade Pakistan from the “grey list” to “black”.
If Pakistan is put on the black list, its economy will be crippled as blacklisting will bar foreign nations and institutions from making any investments in the country. Last month, Pakistan secured a $6-billion bailout from IMF, which is to be disbursed over the next three years.
In view of this dangling sword of economic sanctions, the Pakistan military has woven a picture that it has happily accepted a reduction in budget allocation by the civilian government. Government officials in Delhi are, however, not convinced that a budget cut has taken place in reality, given the strong hold that the Pakistani military has on the Imran Khan-led civilian government.
Pakistan has also launched an aggressive diplomatic campaign to make the 36 FATF member countries and two regional organisations, the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council, believe that it has acted on terror and hence it should not be put on the black list. Pakistan requires 15 votes to move out of the “grey list” and a minimum of three votes to avoid going into the black list.
The Sunday Guardian was able to speak to Pakistan-based functionaries of Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), the charity front of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Al-Rahmat Trust, the charity front of Jaish-e-Mohammed, which were banned in May this year by the Pakistan government for their links with terror groups.
They confirmed that they were still accepting donations for their “charity work”.
When The Sunday Guardian called on one of the mobile numbers of an FIF functionary, by using a “masked number”, the functionary initially stated that he did not work for FIF. When this reporter told him that he was calling from a Gulf country to seek FIF’s bank details so that a donation could be made, the gentleman opened up and shared the details while requesting that further details should be discussed on WhatsApp messenger.
The Sunday Guardian, through its investigation, has also learnt that Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s incendiary speeches are still being played at the sprawling Jamia Masjid Subhan Allah mosque at Bahawalpur, which is from where Masood Azhar, till very recently, used to run the Jaish.
The mosque has a capacity to accommodate 15,000 devotees. Sources have indicated that Masood Azhar has gone underground following the Balakot airstrike and has been asked by the ISI, in view of the FATF, not to be seen in public.
Similarly, The Sunday Guardian was also able to speak to functionaries of the Al-Rahmat trust, who readily accepted the offer of donations for the “displaced and the needy” in India and Myanmar. The trust functionary also told this correspondent that it was building an “education complex” in the Hasanabad region of “Azad Kashmir” for which they needed a lot of money.
The group’s website, www.alrahmat.org, was still “active” as per The Sunday Guardian’s investigation and was “updated” as recently as 12 June.
On 10 May, the Pakistan government had banned 11 organisations for having links with the proscribed outfits Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The organisations that were proscribed include Al-Anfal Trust, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalaq, Al-Dawat ul Irshad, Mosques & Welfare Trust, Al-Medina Foundation, Mazz-Bin-Jabal Education Trust and Al-Hamad Trust.
The recent “ban” and related news that appeared in a section of the media stating that Pakistan has taken “tough action” against the terror groups are being seen as a cloak to make the FATF believe that the country has genuinely curtailed the arms of the terror groups. However, the reality, as The Sunday Guardian found out, is totally different.
Another review of Pakistan’s compliance as mandated by FATF will be held in September, just before the plenary in October. China is scheduled to take on the president-ship of the FATF from the United States in October.
Unnamed source-based news that has been published in a certain section of the Indian media has claimed that Pakistan has seized 800 properties belonging to JUD, FIF, JEM, arrested their leaders, shut down key terror infrastructure, including training camps across the Line of Control. However, this is likely to be a smoke screen.
It is pertinent to mention that in February 2018, Pakistan had announced that it had taken over the assets and facilities of Jaish, which, too, was carried by a certain section of the media. This proved to be another charade as the Jaish carried out multiple terror attacks in the Kashmir valley after that, including the suicide attack on a CRPF contingent in Pulwama in February earlier this year.