Sun, 01 Aug 2021

Paris [France], June 19 (ANI): Exiled dissidents belonging to Baloch, Pashtun, Uyghur, Tibetan and Hong Konger Communities protested outside the headquarters of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris on Saturday urging the international monitoring body to move Pakistan from the grey list to the blacklist.

"With members of the FATF meeting between 21 and 25 June to discuss Pakistan, we urged the FATF to move Pakistan from the grey list to the blacklist and fulfil its mandate of preventing the financing and sponsoring of terror by Pakistan," according to an official release.

Pakistan has been on the FATF's grey list since June 2018. Earlier, in the month of February, Global terror financing watchdog retained Pakistan on its "grey list" till June after concluding that Islamabad failed to address its strategically important deficiencies, to fully implement the 27 point action plan that the watchdog had drawn up for Pakistan.

The Exiled dissidents also protested to draw the international body's attention to terror financing, money laundering and financial corruption Pakistan is engaged in.

"Pakistan adopts the tactic of showcasing strict action against terror financing, terror organisations like the Lashkar e Taiba (now rebranded as the Jamat ud Dawa-JuD), Jaish e Mohammed (JeM), and the Afghan Taliban are continuing to function freely in the country and have been collecting funds," the release read.

It further stated that Pakistan has been using its established and active money laundering networks in Africa and Europe not only for ordinary Pakistanis sending remittances, but also for terror groups and the Pakistani intelligence to fund their activities abroad.

However, the UK has put Pakistan on its high risk list of countries due to its money laundering and terror financing activities, since the money laundered through these networks is used to fund criminal activities. With anti-France sentiments growing in Pakistan, these active money laundering networks may be used by terror groups in Pakistan to facilitate terror activities in France.

Pakistan has well-established and active drug trafficking networks in Europe and Africa, specifically in Mozambique, South Africa, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. The money generated through these networks is an important source of income for terror activities, and is used to finance militancy in Africa.

"The FATF is dragging its feet on these issues in Pakistan due to China's considerable influence on the organisation. China's economic influence over the West consequently results in these FATF member countries also not holding Pakistan accountable for its activities in funding terror," the release said.

China, a close strategic partner of Pakistan, has a poor record of compliance with targeted financial sanction regimes relating to terrorist financing and proliferation financing, and is also committing grave human rights violations in Xinjiang and other parts of China. If the FATF succumbs to Chinese pressure and does not blacklist Pakistan, it will indirectly be responsible for the continued abuses against the people of these regions.

"The FATF needs to put pressure on Pakistan to prevent the China-Pakistan nexus from expanding further, where China might use Pakistani criminal syndicates to pursue its own agenda. We called upon the FATF member nations not to be pressurized by China into letting Pakistan off the hook. This should not be allowed especially because it will not only embolden Pakistan to carry on using terror groups as strategic assets against its adversaries, but also use them against their own people like the Baloch and Pashtuns, who are already facing grave human rights violations," the release added.

The protest was planned and organised by the DISSIDENT Club which has been bringing the Pakistani and Chinese dissidents together in France. Post the protest, the participants met for a conference at the DISSIDENT club to plan the future course of action, and to raise awareness about Pakistan-China nexus in France and in Europe and remind the West of its commitments of eradicating all kinds of terrorism and ensuring human rights globally. The DISSIDENT club is an intellectual space co-founded by Taha Siddiqui, an award-winning Pakistani journalist in exile. (ANI)

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