Mon, 30 Nov 2020

Brussels [Belgium], November 14 (ANI): Asserting that Pakistan is not following United Nations security council's resolutions relating to terrorism, Member of European Parliament Thierry Mariani said that the European Commission should justify the reason that it is supporting Islamabad which harbours money launderers who fund terrorist organisations.

In an opinion piece in the EU Chronicle, Mariani said that Pakistan is becoming renowned as a country that protects the money launderer and the source of terrorism financing.

"The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President Marcus Pleyer insisted at the Plenary press conference on October 23 that 'risks remain' as Pakistan fails to comply with all its terrorism financing standards. The plenary retained Pakistan on the grey-list stating that 'all-action plan deadlines have expired'," he writes.

Mariana said that the FinCEN files, a probe led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in money laundering, highlight that the UN Security Council's resolutions 1267 and 1373 both relating to terrorism are not being followed by Pakistan.

"European Commission should justify how and why it is supporting Pakistan - a country which is harbouring money launderers, which fund terrorist organisations, all with the knowledge and consent of a government, itself on the money laundering and terrorism financing watch list," he writes further.

Pakistani money laundered Altaf Khanani was on the 'most wanted list' for his illicit activities for more than a decade until he was arrested in 2015, the MEP said, adding that both Khanani's network and Pakistan featured prominently in the so-called FinCEN Files.

Khanani was considered one of the world's most-wanted money launderers. He was involved in the illicit international movement of money between countries like Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. His organisation also moved money for drug cartels and terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and al-Qaida.

After a massive hunt involving five nations, Khanani was arrested in Panama in September 2015 by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He was later sent to the US, where a court sentenced him to 68 months in prison.

Khanani was released from prison on July 13, but there isn't much information about his current location.

Despite Islamabad's measures against the notorious money launderer, Khanani can still prove to be damaging for his home country."Khanani, the head of the Khanani MLO, and Al Zarooni Exchange have been involved in the movement of funds for the Taliban. Khanani is known to have had relationships with Lashkar-e-Taiba, Dawood Ibrahim, al-Qaida, and Jaish-e-Mohammed," the US Department of the Treasury said in a press statement in November 2015.

MEP Mariani said that Pakistan is on the FATF watchlist for a reason - most countries in the FATF membership believe that Islamabad, and the Imran Khan government, have not fulfilled their obligations to curb money laundering and terror financing from its soil.

"This is the same Imran Khan who recently gave a eulogy to Osama Bin Laden praising him as a martyr. Pakistan remains on the 'grey list' despite Imran Khan's efforts to fool FATF by imposing 'strict' financial sanctions on 88 terrorist outfits and their leaders, including Jamaat ud-Dawa's (JuD) head, Hafiz Saeed, and Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) Masood Azhar," he writes.

"The FAFT is not so easily misled - not only does it ask for the documentation but it will also carry out a site visit to check that standards and operating systems are in place. The latest Asia Pacific Group (APG) report which also reviews Pakistan's money laundering and terrorism financing practices was not very positive in this direction," he further stated. (ANI)

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