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Pak quietly amends anti-terror law ahead of key Paris meet

Islamabad, February 13

Keen to avert international sanctions, Pakistan has quietly amended its anti-terror laws to include Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation and other militant outfits on the list of UN proscribed groups, a media report said on Tuesday.
A major impact of a new ordinance promulgated by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain would be the proscription of Saeed-linked JuD and FIF along with the UN listed outfits of Al Akhtar Trust and Al Rashid Trust, Dawn newspaper reported.
Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, heads the charity JuD, believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terror group.
The move to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 ends an old discrepancy between the UN sanctions list and the national listing of terrorist groups and individuals, the report said.
It has come ahead of the crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris, scheduled to be held from February 18 to 23.
The US and India are spearheading an effort to get Pakistan included in the watchdog’s international money-laundering and terror-financing ‘grey list’, the paper said.
Pakistan was last placed on FATF’s grey list in February 2012 and stayed on it for three years, the report said.
Last week, Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) had directed the “ministries concerned to complete the few outstanding actions at the earliest”.
Pakistan’s top civil-military coordination forum had reviewed the steps taken by the federal and provincial governments for compliance with FATF requirements in view of the upcoming FATF plenary meeting, which will take up a report to be submitted by Pakistan on actions taken to choke funding of JuD chief Saeed and the organisations linked with him.
The intergovernmental body had at its plenary in Buenos Aires held in November last year had asked Pakistan to furnish a compliance report on actions taken against the Lashkar-e-Taiba and JuD at the Paris meeting.
The UNSC sanctions list has Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and others.
A UNSC 1267 sanctions committee’s monitoring team visited Pakistan in January to review the compliance, but analysts fear that the FATF review could be tougher for the country, the report said.
It is feared that the international body can take some punitive action against Pakistan, it said.
The FATF maintains grey and black lists for identifying countries with weak measures to combat money laundering and terror financing.
The watchdog does not have the powers to impose sanctions on a country found not meeting the required standards.
However, its listing can affect international transactions from the country concerned as those would then become subject to greater scrutiny.
This will increase the cost of doing international transactions and ultimately higher cost of doing business locally.

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