Pakistan is under pressure from global anti-terror watchdog FATF to crack down on terror groups operating from within its borders, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said today at a meeting of Anti-Terrorism Squad chiefs in Delhi. The anti-terror agency, which last week told Pakistan it had failed to fully implement a UN Security Council resolution against Hafiz Saeed and other UN-designated terrorists, as well as outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, began a six-day session in Paris on Sunday to decide whether to retain it in a list of countries with inadequate controls over terrorism financing.
"The biggest pressure on Pakistan comes from the functionaries of the FATF, which is meeting now," Ajit Doval said in his speech, adding, "The proceedings of the FATF have created so much pressure that probably no other action could have done the same".
In a 228-page report released last week, the Asia-Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said Pakistan was fully compliant with only one of 40 recommendations on curbing terror-financing. It further said the country was partially compliant on 26 and non-compliant on four.
Pakistan is now relying on allies within the FATF, like China, which holds the rotating presidency of the agency, Turkey and Malaysia to avoid being blacklisted, which could lead to being downgraded by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and facing negative assessments from credit agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
India has lobbied hard for this blacklisting, arguing that Pakistan's anti-terror laws remain out of sync with FATF standards and UN Resolution 2462, which calls for criminalising terrorist financing.
Interestingly, the rotating presidency of the Financial Action Task Force is currently held by China, meaning India will be keenly watching the Paris meeting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at an informal two-day summit in Chennai last week, where the Chinese leader is understood to have recognised the importance of working together, on a non-discriminatory basis, to strengthen frameworks against the training, financing and supporting of terror groups.
In his speech Mr Doval attacked Pakistan for making terrorism "state policy" and highlighted the difficulties of apprehending a criminal who has the support of the state.
"If a criminal has the support of a state, it becomes a great challenge. Some of the states have mastered this, in our case Pakistan has made it as an instrument of its state policy," the NSA said, adding, "They not only recruit, provide training, weapons, intelligence, etc. but also give them resources and technology".
He spoke about the need for states investigating terror cases to network with each other and build a bank of "quotable and sustainable" evidence that could be presented to global agencies like the FATF.
"Pakistan has been using terrorism as the instrument of state policy. We all know Pakistan sponsors terrorism but in international forums we need evidence. Don't destroy this evidence... you have plenty of it. Let the world know about it," he said.
Mr Doval also indicated that the media had to play its part in the war on terrorism.
"We are not targeting one country. We need to have evidence. Put facts, use facts, don't destroy evidence, use them. How we did it against Pakistan? Give it to the media, use it," he said.
Pakistan has told the FATF that it has done enough by seizing over 700 properties belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Daawa, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation and the Jaish-e-Mohammed but India and other FATF members have pointed out that seizures do not necessarily indicate compliance.
With input from ANi