Ahead of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in February, the United States has re-designated Pakistani terrorist groups as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as foreign terrorist organisations.
The designation of the Pakistani terror groups as foreign terrorist organisations by Washington comes just weeks before the Financial Action Task Force’s meeting in February wherein the status of Islamabad in the grey list would be discussed.
“The Department of State has amended the terrorist designations of Lashkar- i- Jhangvi (LJ) and ISIL Sinai Peninsula (ISIL-SP) to include additional aliases. These aliases have been added to LJ and ISIL-SP’s designations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT),” the department of State said in a release.
“The State Department “has reviewed and maintained the FTO designations of LJ, ISIL-SP, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al Naqshabandi, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru), al-Nusrah Front, Continuity Irish Republican Army and the National Liberation Army, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),” it added.
FTO and SDGT designations seek to deny these terrorist organizations the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. “Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate them and deny them access to the US financial system. Designations can assist the law enforcement actions of other US agencies and governments,” the statement said further.
The re-designation is believed to be one of the final acts by outgoing US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo.
As things stand, Pakistan is on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018.
The country is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.
In a major setback, FATF’s Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering kept the country on “Enhanced Follow-up List” for its slow progress on the technical recommendations of the FATF to fight terror financing, in October.