- Leading to a firm and convincing action
Seizing assets of all banned outfits under UN sanctions regime is a good first step. It should be followed by others that include ban on their publications and organisational activities.
The government needs to undertake a decisive crackdown on whatever militant outfits still exist in Pakistan on an urgent basis. Unless this is done the country’s vital interests are likely to be harmed. It was decided in the National Action Plan (NAP) in 2014 that there would be a comprehensive action against proscribed groups which included disallowing them from operating under different names, cutting off their financial sources and no space given to extremism specially in any part of Punjab.
The inaction has had consequences. FATF has called on Islamabad to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering that cause risks to the global financial system. Placed on the FATF’s grey list in June last year, Islamabad has been tasked with removing its deficiencies by June 2019. After the Pulwama attack, which was strongly condemned by the FATF, the terror financing watch dog’s stance is likely to stiffen further.
Noting that JeM took responsibility for Pulwama attack, the members of the UN SC called for holding the perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of “these reprehensible acts of terrorism” accountable and bring them to justice. They urged all states to cooperate actively with New Delhi for bringing to justice all those who were responsible for the attack. The PTI government announced a ban on Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insanyat Foundation (FIF) though these reportedly continue to operate under different names. As for as JeM is concerned, the government didn’t go beyond stating that Masood Azhar is seriously ill and confined to his residence and taking over the administration of his Bahawalpur seminary.
It won’t do to simply condemn past governments for inaction while doing nothing. It won’t help holding any other institution responsible for taking the decision. It is the duty of the elected government to move ahead firmly to catch the bull by the horns. Cherry picking has cost Pakistan a lot. What is required is an indiscriminate action that leaves no doubt about the country’s commitment to fight terrorism and extremism.