posted by Christopher Holton
Bloomberg News has an article posted about the situation in Pakistan that has mostly escaped the attention of the West in general and Americans in particular.
Under pressure from the Trump administration, Pakistan has made a great show of cracking down on “extremism.” But the persistent presence of jihadis in Pakistani politics as well as the work of jihadi-linked charities call into question whether Pakistan is sincere in fighting against terrorism…
The Mili Muslim League’s website reads like a regular Pakistan political outfit, offering translations in Urdu and English and promoting the rights of minorities and women. The party’s spokesman even calls for good trade relations with arch-rival India.
Yet it’s backed by Hafiz Saeed, the suspected planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks who was designated as a terrorist by the U.S. a decade ago.
The MML’s creation, pushed along by Saeed who inaugurated its offices in Lahore in December, has led to fears Pakistan’s military is renewing its push to lend terror groups political legitimacy.
Pakistan is at pains to show it is acting against militants as it comes under increasing U.S. pressure.
Last month, a U.S.-led coalition of western nations pushed for its addition to the Financial Action Task Force’s terrorism-financing watch list, a move which may lead to sanctions.
The U.S. says Saeed’s charities are fronts for militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Saeed refutes the allegations and in sermons in Lahore he has denounced Islamabad’s moves to seize his organizations’ assets as an American-led persecution.
The U.S. persuaded Islamabad’s allies, Saudi Arabia and China — the latter of which is financing about $60 billion of infrastructure works in Pakistan — to remove earlier objections to Pakistan being placed on FATF’s monitoring list from June.
“Pakistani leaders have said that they are going after terrorism financing, but, unfortunately, there is a cynical contradiction between their words and actions,” said Javid Ahmad, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center in Washington. “If Pakistan ends up on FATF’s grey list in June, it faces being placed on the blacklist and is likely to face economic sanctions, global banking isolation, limiting foreign investments that would have corrosive effects on the country’s teetering economy.”