Pakistan Braces for Protests Over its ‘Nexus’ with China as it Waits for FATF Report Card on Terror Financing

With an aim to expose the Pakistan-China nexus, the Baloch, Pashtun, Uyghur, Tibet and Hong Kong communities and exiled dissidents Will hold a protest outside the headquarters of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris on Saturday.

It is for the very first time that those wronged by Pakistan and China come together in France to raise their concerns against the Pakistan deep state and its support to terrorism in the region. After the protest at the FATF headquarters, the exiled community organisers will meet at the Dissident Club to chart out a joint-future course of action to expose the Pakistani agencies and their role in human rights violations as well as use terrorism as a state policy in India’s Jammu & Kashmir as well as Afghanistan.

Their key demand is to have FATF immediately blacklist Pakistan for failing to curb terror financing and allowing Islamist terror groups to operate freely on Pakistan soil.

“As the global community meets at the headquarters of FATF Paris on 22nd February to decide the fate of Pakistan, we will hold a protest outside the FATF office. We demand that FATF not come under China’s pressure and the international monitoring body should hold Pakistan accountable for its terror-financing and financial corruptions that China provides a cover for’, one of the organisers of the protest, Taha Siddiqui, alleged.

“China’s own projects and investments like CPEC in Pakistan lack transparency and FATF must question this too. For long, Pakistan has been helped by China to avoid financial sanctions and this cannot go on. Following the protest, we will hold a conference to chart out a future course of action where oppressed communities from Pakistan and China can unite together to expose the Pakistan-China nexus,” he says.

Siddiqui is Paris-based journalist who has founded the Dissident Club and South Asia Press. In 2018, Siddiqui began life in exile at Paris after armed men of the Pakistani agencies tried to abduct or assassinate him but his presence of mind led to his last-minute escape from the clutches of death.

The FATF plenary will be held from February 22 to 26 where Pakistan’s fate of will be decided by the top anti-money laundering and terror financing watchdog.

Pakistan was first placed on the FATF grey list in June 2018 and given a timeline to address global concerns by implementing 27-point action plan to tackle the menace of terror financing on its soil. Then in October 2020, the FATF had kept Pakistan in the grey list till February 2021 since the country failed to show its full commitment on the entire action plan.

While several new legislations and plans have been brought in, there has been almost no implementation of the same against the terror groups that are known to have a deep nexus with the Pakistan Army and the ISI.

The failure includes lack of any significant action against designated terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Muhammad and Hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba and his top aide Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi who are the masterminds of the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019 which killed 40 CRPF soldiers, and Mumbai 26/11 attacks of 2008 which killed 166 people.

The author is Contributing Editor, News18 group with more than a decade long experience in covering Conflict, Foreign Policy and Internal Security.

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