Pakistan seems to be in a fix which has been entire of its own making. At a time its Arab patrons are backing out and placing bets against Pakistan, it has to rely on the predator masquerading as a friend China, to payback the billion-dollar loans taken from the Arab nations. Facing an imminent threat of being engulfed by China, Pakistan by no means can afford to stay in FATF grey list for much longer, let alone sliding into the blacklist. In a desperate move to attract some money under the garb of aid, Pakistan for the first time has imposed sanctions on India’s most wanted terrorist, Dawood Ibrahim as it has also acknowledged his presence in Karachi.
In what is being read as a last-ditch attempt to avoid getting blacklisted by FATF, Pakistan has issued a notification proscribing 88 chiefs and members of terrorist groups, which include India’s most wanted, Dawood Ibrahim and 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. The statutory notification which also mentioned Dawood’s dress in Karachi complies with new list issued by the United Nations Security Council.
Recently, copies of similar notifications in 2015 and 2019 also surfaced mentioning Dawood’s Karachi address, however, Indian government sources speaking to TOI, believe that the notifications “appeared to be backdated”, as they believe that this is the first admission by Pakistan acknowledging Dawood’s presence in the country. Indian officials maintain that Dawood had never been mentioned by Pakistan in any official document till the statutory notification.
As the news started gaining traction, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs shunned speculations as it claimed reports mentioning Pakistan imposing new sanctions are “incorrect”, however, the message has been received. Pakistan is trying to evade further problems at the FATF.
In its statement, the Ministry claimed, as to Pakistan admitting to the presence of certain listed individuals on its territory, based on the information contained in the SRO, is baseless and misleading”.
While this move undertaken amidst increasing pressure from the US and FATF, needs to be followed by the prosecution to restrict the movement and funding of the individuals, Pakistan will likely take no further punitive measures against Dawood, keeping in mind the abysmally low conviction rates in the country with Hafiz Saeed’s farcical house arrest being a testament to this fact.
While Pakistan was quick to disregard the news, it appears that Imran Khan is attempting to hoodwink the FATF by taking baby steps with no scope for punitive measures in a bid to escape being blacklisted. Pakistan’s economy is on the brink ever since Imran Khan assumed the reigns of the country and grossly messed up an already ailing economy, with Arab nations also betting against Pakistan, the nation cannot afford being blacklisted under any circumstance, which perhaps explains the statutory notification.