The international situation proves we are losing the war on terror, by failing to define the enemy and ignoring the battle ground. Western leader must acknowledge reality. Indeed, one of the wonders of human nature is how leaders transform information into knowledge, or perhaps better, how they disregard the hazards by ignoring, using mental agnosia, and appeasing. This politicians’ illness, the oblivion of reality, is pervasive, and “war on terrorism” has become a favorite slogan.
However, it is not only naïve, but also stupid as much as criminal to declare ‘we are at war with terrorism,” “we must fight terrorism.” We are not. We are at war with Islamic ideology, because Muslim groups and organizations has declared war against all other civilizations. Terrorism is a tactic, a means; one cannot be at war with a tactic, as if during WWII, the US went to war against the ‘Blitzkrieg’ or ‘Kamikaze.’
Those days, the free world was not afraid to clearly declare it is at war against Nazi Germany and Japan. Nowadays our leaders are afraid, terrorized, and intimidated, and that is why they even do not say ‘Islamic terrorism.’ Oddly enough they immediately reiterate that Islam is a peaceful and compassionate religion, and even that al-Qaeda and the Islamic Caliphate State are not Islamic. However, Islamic ideology is the only reason, the incentive, the motivation, and the only cause of the free world’s severe hazardous situation.
It is ridiculous to define the enemy as ‘al-Qaeda’ or ‘Islamic Caliphate State’ or ‘Taliban’ or ‘Hamas’ or ‘Hezbollah’ – and at the same time to “set free” the motivational force, the political drive of Islamic ideology to occupy the world. It is illogical let alone futile, not to courageously define the enemy, the rival you fight against. In World War II the Free World fought Nazi Germany and Japan on the international level. The aim was not the 16th German Armor Division or the 45th Japanese Regiment. Our leaders should loud and clear declare that we are fighting against Islamic ideology, Islamic ambitions to occupy the world. Our leaders must clearly assert that we are fighting against the ideology of Islam manifested in a tactical level as terrorism, Jihad, which knows no country and recognizes no borders. Our leaders must clearly establish that we are fighting against a world political movement, an imperialist colonialist political religion that seeks to submit and subdue us all and bring us to their 7th century desert.
In his Art of War, Sun Tzu remarks, “He who knows neither self nor enemy will fail in every battle.” This is exactly the contemporary Western world situation. It exhibits a catastrophic failure because it knows neither self nor enemy and stands as helpless as a kitten against the onslaught of Islam’s aggressive, political, ideological and territorial offensive. Where is the problem? It is exactly our leaders, our media, and academia. One can never awaken a man who is pretending to be asleep. One can never arouse a man who lives in utopian wishful world, and clearly denies the situation, and it is even unfortunate that one cannot bring knowledge to those who are in mental agnosia and ignorance. It is no less important to note that the conclusions we reach reflect the assumptions we make. Start with false assumptions and you reach false conclusions. Start with euphoric assumptions and you reach false peaceful conclusions.
However, data assembled from all reliable sources show that more than 70 percent of world violence and more than 90 Percent of world terrorism is connected directly to Muslims and Islamic ideology. Horrific data taken for more than twenty years also show that every minute there is at least one victim from the Muslims worldwide, most of them are Muslims by themselves. In 2015 there were 452 homicide bombings; all of them were Islamic. This date is crystal clear: the issue at stake is the Islamic ideology, and from here stem the targets and the means.
However, do our leaders really intend to combat Islamic terrorism to eliminating it, or perhaps they intentionally evade the issues by not truly defining it correctly? It is unfortunate to realize that the most salient characteristics of our generation is the deep crisis of leadership and the lake of statesmanship. It is pervasive and cut across all over the world. An accumulation of President Bush’s declarations show that he has never added the word “Arab” to terrorism, and when he said “Islamic terrorism,” he immediately adds that Islam is a peace-loving compassionate religion. Is it only a politically correctness? A denial? An ignorance? President Obama has adopted a worse policy: it is forbidden to put together “Islamic” with “terrorism;” it is imposed to utter that Islam is a “religion of peace;” and it is coerced to declare that al-Qaeda or the Islamic Caliphate State are nor Islamic movements, in fact they are anti Islam.
After London blasts of July 2005, British Prime Minister, and in many declarations, Tony Blair denounced “terrorism” and not “Islamic ideology. He persistently accused poverty, wretchedness and Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the causes of terrorism, while systematically said Islam is a religion of peace and the Qur’an is the book of wisdom. Almost the same ritual was reiterated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the new elected Canadian Prime Minister, Trudeau, and even by the current Pope who declared that Islam “exemplifies shared belief of Christianity.”
The riots that erupted in France from the beginning of the 21st century, gives another example to the politics of oblivion and mental agnosia so characterizes Western leadership. Even the terrorist attacks in Paris, in 2015 and 2016, has not caused a strategic change in the operational code of the ideology and policy of France. Experts who watched closely these phenomena are amazed by the fact that also the reality of Muslims’ character and nature is distinct and obvious, there was consensus in France as much as in other states, among political leader and parties, the media and public opinion to deny the true reality that there was religious and cultural dimensions.
However, The folly of mental blindness and appeasement prevails, and hypocrisy combined with ignorance and political correctness, runs rampant: indeed, there are extreme verses as much as there are mild in the Qur’an, and this duality is found in every religion; and indeed, there are radicals among the Muslims just as in all societies, but they are just a minority, even weeds. The Muslim majority is different. However, this is the problem with all its severity, to be investigated by the following questions:
If that is the true situation – how do we know this? Are there any corroborating studies and data to substantiate this view? Or we only believe this is the reality? Even if a different peace-loving majority exists, is its voice heard? Does it have any influence in the decision-making processes and the policies adopted by the leaders? Or is it only in our mirror imaged personality? Where is public opinion voice, the political parties, the media, the leaders which prove there are other voices and policies? Or we just assume this is the situation?
How many peace movements, demonstrations and masses marching and rolling for peace and against terrorist perpetrators can be identified? Was any terrorist attack stopped or even just even denounced by the so-called majority? Or is it our own imagination alone? How many pressure and interest groups are there which actively function against Islamic fanaticism and Jihad terrorism? And if they do, to what extent do they influence? Or we just ignore reality out of politically correctness? How many NGO’s are there acting against the terrorist organizations and preventing aid from their reach? Do they even try to stop terrorism and convince it is act against humanity? Or we just want to believe that there are such? If there are moderate peace-loving political leaders, where are they? What influence do they have? Is their voice heard? What do they declare after the horrible acts of terrorism perpetuated, except of blaming the US and Israel? Or is it all our mental blindness and political denial?
Indeed, there are intellectuals and liberals, unfortunately very few, condemning the atrocious terrorist acts. However, who controls the Islamic communities and in the streets? Which voice is heard and is written in the communication Media? Who is more influential and admired by the youth; in the Madaris (school system)? In the mosques and in the media? Who are the heroes of the masses? And the biggest wonder of all, why do we always supply excuses and explanations to the horrific phenomenon we don’t understand culturally and ignorant religiously, and at the same time we do not demand from the others to apologize and act? Or we just have a death wish? Do we ignore reality out of confusion or the Stockholm syndrome is the cause, or the threatening lethal situation that frightens and horrifies us so deeply?
And if there is a silent majority, Nonie Darwish is correct by putting the blame on their silent which in fact means aiding and abetting the culture of hate, terror and beheadings. Moreover, Western and public opinion leaders dismiss the role of the religion and its deep influence on the Muslims. This situation is much worse, since our leaders totally deny what the Islamic terrorist organization clearly utter: that we are in a third world war, and it is a religious war. The latest example among the huge pile of Western denial declarations was the State Department spokesman, John Kirby that the terrorist attack in Brussels in March 2016, “was not about a religion… we don’t believe that it is indicative in any way of the Muslim faith or the people who practice Islam as a religion.”
Although the Qur’an is written in parables and vague; in a language full of contradictions, so that different people can choose passages to justify anything they want, the Qur’anic religious, ideological and political passages are clear and its targets are laid down clearly, and it commands its believers to accomplish them by all means. The aim is to occupy the world and to make Islam the only legitimate religion. Still, Western and public opinion leaders are unintentionally assisting Islamic victory by failing to know how to fight the enemy; by the politics of denial and ignorance of postponing decisions and activity to eliminate the threat by the media and the legal system; and by using mental blindness and mirror image instead of courageous policy.
Republican Senator, Allen West, is correct by insisting that the U.S. must understand 21st-century combat.
Today’s paradigm of battle and combat operations is completely different and more complicated. The conventional wars we knew have completely disappeared for an asymmetrical battlefield with non-uniformed, non-state belligerents, using unconventional weapons and tactics. Every nation that wishes to succeed in protecting its citizens and interests must quickly understand and adapt to the new battlefield. For the sake of our nation, and of all nations who seek freedom for their citizens, we must clearly identify the 21st century battlefield and ensure we are victorious on it.
Therefore, it is a must to deny the enemy sanctuary. Because this enemy has no respect for borders or boundaries, we must be willing to take the fight directly to him. It means to cut off the enemy’s flow of men, material and resources, and cordon off the enemy to reduce his sphere of influence, by denying immigration, expelling the radical Imams, and demanding the Muslims’ assimilation and integration. Above all, it is a must to win the information war. Unfortunately, the enemy is far more adept at exploiting the power of the Internet, broadcast media and dissemination of powerful imagery. It is exacerbated by Western media, seeing itself as an ideological political wing or at best as a neutral body.
Until the Free World nations are able to correctly and openly identify the enemy, we will continue to stumble and fail, and Islam continues to prevail. Once we have identified the enemy and the specific strategic level objectives, we must effectively fight. We have to be mindful of the wise words compiled by Sun Tzu in his “The Art of War” more than 25 centuries ago: “to know your enemy and to know yourself and to know the environment and countless amounts of battles, you will always be victorious.” However, the Free World leaders’ ‘war on terrorism’ has been exactly the opposite, as one cannot fight the means, but must fight by all means the perpetrator. There are still those who declare “the only way to defeat terrorism is to ignore it; as if it will disappear by itself. However, it is so crazy, meaning exactly to dance with death.
With Obama’s administration the situation has even worsen, as it is impossible to formally utter ‘Islamic terrorism’ together. There is Islam which is a religion of peace and compassion, and terrorism, which is al-Qaeda. Even the Taliban, the richest terrorist organization, is not completely a terrorist. It is even forbidden to use terms like ‘fighting jihadists,’ because ‘Jihad’ means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.’ Those who do not agree with the administration show ‘inflammatory rhetoric, hyperbole, and intellectual narrowness.’
Continuing these lines, John Kasich said after the Brussels massacre: “We are not at war with Islam; we’re at war with radical Islam.” This is really a willful blindness that goes on after the Paris and Brussels Islamic terrorist attacks. Daniel Benjamin, former State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, has essentially declared, what happened in Brussels is really just about Europe. It has nothing to do with the US; it can’t happen here. With all due respect any logical assessment must emphatically disagree. He is absolutely mistaken. Americans should fear exactly that.
Richard Perle said that the US administration “should keep eye on radical mosques,” and he two is wrong. All over the Free World’s governments should keep thousands of eyes on each and every mosque and directly monitor all Muslim Imams. It is a must. Everything begins with them, from radicalization to legitimization, and at the end of the continuum, the performance and execution of terrorist attacks.
There is also the case of Western media, its agenda is unfortunately different from the best interests of Western security. Perhaps it is the right time to demand the media just to tell the truth. After reporting the Brussels massacre, the media in the US was very busy with the probability of the “rise of the right wing in Europe.” The cover story was “terrorism;” not Islamic terrorism. The debates on the TV’s did not deal with the issues of Islam, they have given the audience an ample time to listen to Islamic and Western propagandists to exhibit a peaceful compassionate Islam. For the media, ‘the right wing’ is the problem and not Islamic atrocities.
There are so many issues to consider: the coercive terrorism-Jihad, exhibited as homicide bombings, beheadings, lynching. Hatred Terrorism, exhibited by violent demonstrations, Western women rapes, and rioting. Demography terrorism, mass immigration of young and able Muslims representing the arrow-head and forefront of Muslims to occupy and inherit. Deceiving terrorism–Da’wah: exhibited by NGO’s and organization acting legally and politically as interest and pressure groups. They use the ignorance of Western world public opinion to market totally different kind of Islam, as if it is a peaceful, tolerant, and compassionate.
There are more: Judicial terrorism. Through the NGO’s and other organizations, Muslims excel in suing and bringing to court according to Western legal system and laws anyone they blame of insulting them or insulting Islam according to their own judgment. This is very articulate and beneficial strategy: on the one hand they use hideous terrorism, and on the other, anyone who calls the spade, a spade is harassed and summoned to court. “Legal Jihad” is exploiting every provision of the law in free societies to promote Islam and to silence its critics through expensive exhausting lawsuits. There is also cultural terrorism: Western peoples wish to appear liberals, and not to be called racists or fascists. This is the course mainly in Europe, especially after its colonial past and the horrors of the two World Wars of the 20th century. Therefore, by violently intimidating and accusing all those who say anything against Islam, Muslims define him a racist, an Islamophobe, and a liar. They highly succeed in silencing out of intimidation, even forcing Western politicians to apologize and to make concessions.
There is also the academic terrorism. The most important case belongs to Edward Said, and his so-called “research,” Orientalism. He deliberately used West’s guilt remorse of the colonialist-imperialist era to produce a full of twisted ideas book, which is promoted by the leftist’s ignorant in the academia to dance on Western sensibilities. Reality shows: accuse the Europeans with anything, just don’t call them racists or fascists. The Muslims have taken the advantage and yield concessions and appeasement from Westerners by using their historic cultural invention of victimology and misery. This has also a direct link to displacement-transference terrorism, accusing Israel with all Muslims’ evil, describing it as a danger to world peace.
However, Arab-Muslims commit all these atrocities. This is exactly Islamic history represented by two words: Ghazawat (raids) on the infidels’ lands and Ghana’em (taking booty) from them. But it is washed away from world public opinion and attention by ignorance, promoted by the media in association with the academia. Indeed, the Middle East is an unprecedented greenhouse of conspicuous vicious trends, exemplifying the epitome of evil: politically, dictatorship of Arab-Islamic authoritarian regimes and corrupt patrimonial leadership; socially, poverty, wretchedness, and coercion of the miserable population (being the main reason for the huge mass-immigration to the Western countries); morally-ethically, murderous regimes that brutalize its peoples, with politics of mass-murder, genocide; abuse of human and civil rights; oppression of women and honor killings; lynching and beheadings that still exists and pervasive.
It is highly recommended to change our perceptions of Islamic ideology and practice: that the Free World is already engaged in the Third World War declared by Islam more than twenty years ago, That it is an existential civilization threat, no less hazardous than the enemies of World War II, but Western leaders do not yet grasp this to fight back. That although this is not a declared war between states, its consequences are no less lethal to the Free World’s existence. That terrorism perpetrators are perhaps not the tyrants of the past, but the new tyranny World Jihad much more lethal. That not like the ideological wars of the past, World Jihad’s ideology is religiously fanatic being without compromise and appeasement. That we are witnessing raids of terrorism and slaughter by fanatics determined to destroy Western culture and intended to bring our civilization back to their 7th century.
Oriana Fallaci, the late Italian intellectual, one of the earlier prophets concerning Islam, has put the mired lethal situation of the Western World perhaps the best in context. Her words were a warning signpost, a wake-up call, Western leaders did not want to listen even to notice:
Wake up people, wake up. Paralyzed by the fear of appearing racist, you do not understand that the reverse crusade has commenced. Drugged by the stupidity or by shortsightedness of the adherents of political correctness, you do not internalize that a religious war is transpiring here. A war, whose objective is to conquer our souls and rob our freedoms. A war conducted with the goal of destroying our civilization and our way of life.
Stunned by the preponderance of false propaganda, you do not want to get it into your heads that if we do not defend ourselves, if we do not battle, jihad will win. It will win and destroy the world which we were able to build. It will make our culture and identity disappear.
Debating them is pointless; conducting a dialogue with them is useless; and demonstrating tolerance towards them is suicide. How is it that leftists never open their mouths against the Muslim world’s primitive, theocratic regimes, which have no democracy, no freedoms and no individual rights? Why were we killed and die in wars declared against the enemies of freedom and civilization? Are these principles invalid to the despotic Islamic regimes?
Enough of your double standards of morality; enough of your opacity; enough of your hypocrisy. Crickets of all countries and languages stop the confusion and start along the path to sobriety. The mountain of Islam has not moved for 1400 years; a mountain that consciously opts for primitiveness and ignorance and is ruled by fanatics. Europe is becoming a province of Islam.
U.S.: From mass airstrikes to targeted terrorist attack
The U.S.-led military operation “Inherent Resolve” has begun in August 2014. Its ostensible purpose was a struggle with the gaining ground ISIS at that moment. As the operation develops, Australia, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries joined the American airstrikes.
United forces, with purposes to show power and strengthen its influence in the region carried out more than three thousand airstrikes in the first year, resulting in thousands of victims among civilians. It is worth to note that member states of the coalition didn’t try to hide the fact that their actions caused the death of thousands of people. In 2018, British authorities justified civilian deaths by the fact that militants used them as human shields and it was impossible task to minimize losses.
According to “Airwars”, the British non-government organization, from 2014 till 2019 up to 13,190 civilians were killed in Iraq and Syria as a result of the international coalition actions.
However, despite all the “efforts” and the Pentagon’s loud statements about the fight against international terrorism, the fact of the continuously growing territory controlled by the militants testifies the opposite. In addition, since 2015, facts of provided by Washington direct support to terrorists have begun to be revealed. U.S. and its allies produced weapons were repeatedly found in the territories liberated from jihadists. So, for example in 2017 during armed clashes with government troops militants used anti-tank TOW-2 and SAMS air defense systems of the U.S. production. Also, American medicines, communication tools and even component kits for UAVs were found in positions abandoned by terrorists.
The negative reaction of the international community began to rise in this context and Washington had no choice but to change the strategy of its activity in Syria. The practice of mass airstrikes was replaced by targeted terrorist attacks against government forces by their backed militants.
For implementing of such kind of actions, U.S. retained its military presence in Homs province where their military base Al-Tanf is deployed. A huge amount of evidence U.S. servicemen training armed groups fighters is widely accessible. Moreover it’s known that 55 km zone around Al-Tanf has been inaccessible to government troops for years and Syrian army attempts to enter the area were suppressed by the U.S. airstrikes.
At the same time, IS militants have been spotted moving in this region without encumbrance and used the base as a safe zone for regrouping. Terrorists slipped in Deir ez-Zor, Palmyra, as well as Daraa and As-Suwayda from this area. In addition, the U.S. has created the Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra group to fight government forces in the eastern section of the border between Syria and Iraq. Initially, the armed group was created to fight against government troops, but after a number of defeats they started to protect the area around the Al-Tanf.
Up to the date Washington continues to insist on Bashar al-Assad government “illegitimacy” and actively supports so-called moderate opposition. Pursuing its selfish economic and political goals, the United States counters to the international law, completely ignoring the tens of thousands victims among civilians and millions of refugees flooded Europe. Although the role of the White House and its allies in supporting terrorist groups is difficult to overestimate, the United States obviously will not consider it enough.
FATF: A Sword of Damocles or a tool of financial discipline?
Pakistan has been groaning under the Financial Action Task Force restrictions. There is marked contrast between Pakistan’s and India’s view of Pakistan’s current status, compliant or tardy with regard to most of the conditions. Pakistan oozes optimism that it has complied with most of the conditions. India however is pessimistic about Pakistan’s ability to get over the bar anytime soon.
One hurdle to meet the FATF conditionalities was to have a permanent mechanism to nab and prosecute the offenders. Pakistan’s federal cabinet has already approved a new set of rules to amend Anti-Money-Laundering (Forfeited Properties Management) Rules 2021 and the AML (Referral) Rules 2021. Thus, Pak government is now all set to set to introduce new rules on forfeiture, management and auction of properties and assets relating to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) cases and transfer of investigations and prosecution of AML cases from police, provincial anti-corruption establishments (ACEs) and other similar agencies to specialised agencies to achieve remaining benchmarks of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
These rules and related notifications for certain changes in existing schedule of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 (AMLA) would come into force immediately to be followed by appointment of administrators and special public prosecutors for implementation.
These legislative steps would help the FATF determine whether Pakistan has complied with three outstanding benchmarks, out of 27, that blocked its exit from the so-called grey list in February this year. The FATF has planned several meetings in the second week of June, ending in the FATF plenary on June 21-25.
The three outstanding action points (out of total 27) include (i) demonstrating that terrorist financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the directive of the designated persons or entities; (ii) demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions; and (iii) demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all designated terrorists, particularly those acting for them or on their behalf.
Within framework of the amended rules, the Pak government would appoint dozens of administrators with the powers to confiscate, receive, manage, rent out, auction, transfer or dispose of or take all other measures to preserve the value of the properties and perishable or non-perishable assets (including those at go downs, maalkhanas or any other place) to be confiscated under the AML 2010 rules or court orders pursuant to proceedings under AMLA 2010.
The regional directors of the Anti-Narcotics Force would be designated as administrators for the ANF, customs collectors for the Federal Board of Revenue, directors of directorates of intelligence and investigation of the Inland Revenue Service for the IRS, zonal directors for FIA and additional directors of recovery, disposal and assets management cells for National Accountability Bureau.
Valuation of inventories
The AML (Forfeited Properties Management) Rules 2021 specify how the inventories would be measured, described or defined, protected and evaluated for auction and how to complete all processes thereto, including constitution of auction committees and how properties would be quantified or classified like if a property is of residential, commercial or industrial nature and what should be its market value or sale price etc.
For example, the movable case property worth more than Rs100,000 would be kept in the locker or vault in the State Bank of Pakistan, district or tehsil treasury or any nationalised bank. For withdrawal of such movable properties, the agency concerned would designate two officers of grade-17 or above and prior written permission of next supervisory officer of the agency would be required.
Each agency would establish a central asset recovery office to ensure assets recovery and management of the forfeited property and keep a designated central account with the SBP maintained by the ministry of finance where proceeds of property would be remitted by all agencies after attainment of the finality of forfeiture order by a court. All investigating and prosecuting agencies would exchange financial intelligence and information about the properties with other stakeholders for expeditious confiscation and forfeiture under the AMLA 2010.
Transfer of cases to competent authorities
The Anti-Money Laundering (Referral) Rules, 2021 are being introduced to enable transfer of the cases from one set of investigation agencies to another. If police, the ACEs or any other governmental organisations, other than investigating and prosecution agency under the AMLA, finds that an offence under the AMLA 2010 has been committed and such agency lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of it, the head of such would refer the matter to the head of the agency concerned having jurisdiction to investigate.
Police, the ACEs or other governmental organisations would continue an inquiry or an investigation of the offence and would take necessary measures to preserve and retrieve the relevant information and evidence and case properties till formal acceptance by the investigating and prosecuting agency concerned as set out in the relevant clause of the AMLA and formal handing over and taking over of complete record.
After acceptance of the case by the competent investigating and prosecuting agency, police or ACEs etc would hand over complete record, including case files, record of proceedings and seizure memos along with relevant evidence, property and other material seized and the accused in custody, if any. Such investigating and prosecuting agencies would resume all the proceedings under the said act including to examine, re-examine persons concerned and other oral and documentary evidence and would expeditiously take steps as necessary for just finalisation of the proceedings.
Adequate number of special public prosecutors would be appointed for the Anti-Narcotics Force and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) besides a separate panel of lawyers for customs and the Internal Revenue Service of the Federal board of Revenue. Also, law officers not below the rank of assistant director legal would be appointed for the Federal Investigating Agency and special public prosecutors for the National Accountability Bureau.
Pakistan also has to issue “National Policy Statement on Follow the Money (NPSFM)”. Through this statement and rules listed above, Pakistan’s compliance with FATF recommendations in Post Observation Period Report (POPR) would further improve with corresponding enhancement in the ratings or effectiveness of the FATF’s relevant Immediate Outcomes. Pakistan’s POPR would be reviewed by the FATF’s Asia-Pacific Joint Group (A-PJG), and based on the report of this group, the FATF would decide further course of action on Pakistan’s progress on the POPR in its plenary scheduled in June 21-25, 2021.
The NPSFM commits Pakistan to tackling money laundering and terrorist financing as a matter of priority during investigations, prosecutions, and subsequent confiscation in all money laundering, terrorism financing and high risk predicate crimes by adopting universal approach to combating money-laundering and terror-financing through generating sound and effective financial intelligence reports for the consumption of law enforcement agencies and maintaining risk-sensitive anti-money-laundering regime to enhance cooperation and coordination amongst the such stakeholders both domestically and internationally.
The government is also committed to protecting the financial system and the broader economy in Pakistan from criminality through a robust financial system to ensure that dirty money does not find its ways into the financial system. The government would ensure a robust beneficiary identification system, deterring financial crime as it deprives criminals of the proceeds of their crimes and removes financial support for terrorism and further ensures that targeted financial sanctions are implemented in letter and spirit.
Further, it would ensure a transparent, robust and efficient approach to investigating money laundering and terrorist financing and to the seizure, confiscation and management of criminal assets by supporting relevant agencies in cooperatively achieving this goal.
The Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has improved Pakistan’s rating on 21 of the 40 technical recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) against money laundering and terror financing, but retained it on ‘Enhanced Follow-up’ for sufficient outstanding requirements.
The second Follow-Up Report (FUR) on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the APG — a regional affiliate of the Paris-based FATF — also downgraded the country on one criterion. The report said Pakistan was re-rated to ‘compliant’ status on five counts and on 15 others to ‘largely compliant’ and on yet another count to ‘partially compliant’.
Overall, Pakistan is now fully ‘compliant’ with seven recommendations and ‘largely compliant’ with 24 others. The country is ‘partially compliant’ with seven recommendations and ‘non-compliant’ with two out of total 40 recommendations. All in all, Pakistan is now compliant or largely compliant with 31 out of 40 FATF recommendations.
The Asia Pacific Group announced,
“Overall, Pakistan has made notable progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) and has been re-rated on 22 recommendations,”.
It said recommendations 14, 19, 20, 21 and 27 had been re-rated to comply. These pertain to money or value transfer services, higher risk countries, reporting of suspicious transactions, tipping-off and confidentiality and powers of supervisors.
The APG said Pakistan was re-rated to largely compliant with 15 recommendations — 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32, 35 and 40. These include assessing risk and adopting a risk-based approach, targeted financial sanctions relating to terror and terror financing, targeted financial sanctions related to proliferation, non-profit organisation, politically exposed persons and reliance on third parties.
Also, re-rating was done on designated non-financial business & professions (DNFBP) in terms of due diligence and other measures, transparency in beneficial ownership of legal persons and related legal arrangements, responsibilities of law enforcement and investigation authorities, cash couriers, sanctions and other forms of international cooperation.
Another re-rating to partially compliant status was done on recommendation 28 that pertained to regulation and supervision of DNFBPs. The two recommendations on which Pakistan was downgraded to ‘non-complaint’ were 37 and 38 due to insufficient progress and pertained to mutual legal assistance (MLA) with other countries and freezing and confiscation of assets and accounts.
Negative impact of rigorous compliance
The managers of financial institutions in Pakistan are implementing the FATF conditions without understanding their purpose. They are harassing honest investors. For instance, the manager of the national Saving Centre Poonch house Rawalpindi refuses to issue an investment certificate unless the applicant submits a host of documents. These documents include a current bank statement, source-of-income certificate besides biodata along with a passport-size photograph. They call for the documents even if the applicant submits a cheque on his 40-year-old bank account.
Deviation from objectives
The financial Action Task Force has ostensibly noble objectives. It provides a `legal’, regulatory, framework for muzzling the hydra-headed monster of money-laundering. It aims at identifying loopholes in the prevailing financial system and plugging them. But, it has deviated from its declared objectives. It has became a tool to coerce countries, accused of financing terrorism or facilitating money-laundering. The FATF is more interested in disciplining a state like Pakistan, not toeing US policies, than in checking money-laundering. The tacit message is that if Pakistan does not toe USA’s Afghan policy, and lease out air bases for drone attacks, then it will remain on FATF grey list.
The consequences of being in the grey list may entail economic sanctions and difficulties in obtaining loans from international donors like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The trade-and-aid difficulties may retard economic progress of a country.
Favoritism towards India: India has a much larger Gross Domestic Product (US$2875 billion , 2019), than Pakistan’s paltry US$ 264 billion (2020).Similarly India has a much larger and wealthier Diaspora than Pakistan particularly in the Middle East and the USA.
The hawala (hand to hand transactions) and other money transfer practices among Indians and Pakistanis are similar. Yet the FATF keeps Pakistan always in focus and looks the other way when it comes to India.
Pakistan is a bête noire and India a protégé at the FATF only because of stark geo-political interests. Otherwise the money laundering situation in India is no less gruesome in India than in Pakistan. India has even been a conduit of ammunition to the Islamic State study conducted by Conflict Armament Research had confirmed that seven Indian companies were involved in the supply chain of over 700 components, including fuses or detonating cords used by the so-called Islamic State to construct improvised explosive devices.
Political considerations, not primary objectives, override voting behavior at the FATF.
The Autopsy of Jihadism in the United States
The American counter-terrorism establishment is shocked to know that its current terrorist threat, contrary to conventional wisdom, is not foreign but “a large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States have been American citizens or legal residents”.
A terror threat assessment by NewAmerica, a think tank comprehensive, up-to-date source of online information about terrorist activity in the United States and by Americans overseas since 9/11, 20 years after 9/11 reported: “…while a range of citizenship statuses are represented, every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident except one who was in the United States as part of the U.S.-Saudi military training partnership”.
The ultimate irony is NewAmerica quoting a terrorist to underline the seriousness of the threat: “Yet today, as Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born cleric who became a leader in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, put it in a 2010 post, ‘Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie’.”
Since 9/11 and today, the United States faced just “one case of a jihadist foreign terrorist organization directing a deadly attack inside the United States since 9/11, or of a deadly jihadist attacker receiving training or support from groups abroad”. The report recalls: “That case is the attack at the Naval Air Station Pensacola on December 6, 2019, when Mohammed Al-Shamrani shot and killed three people. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed the attack and according to the FBI, evidence from Al-Shamrani’s phone he was in contact with an AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula) militant and AQAP prior to his entry to the United States…”
In the last two decades, “jihadists” have killed 107 people inside the United States. Compare this with deaths occurring due to major crimes: 114 people were killed by far-right terrorism (consisting of anti-government, militia, white supremacist, and anti-abortion violence), 12 and nine people, respectively, killed in attacks “inspired by black separatist/nationalist ideology and ideological misogyny”. Attacks by people with Far-Left views have killed one person. It just goes to show that terrorism inside the United States is no longer the handiwork of foreign or “jihadi” ideologies, but is “homegrown”, the report points out.
The report points out a poor understanding of the terror threat and its roots by the Trump administration. A week into his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning entry of citizens of seven Muslim countries into the United States. The countries were: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Th order cited “national security” as the reason, but gave no real justification.
Trump’s aides tried to find some justification for the order claiming that in the administration’s assessment the United States was and will be the prime target of terrorist organisations from these countries. The same report clarifies how wrong this assessment was: “None of the deadly attackers since 9/11 emigrated or came from a family that emigrated from one of these countries nor were any of the 9/11 attackers from the listed countries. Nine of the lethal attackers were born American citizens. One of the attackers was in the United States on a non-immigrant visa as part of the U.S.-Saudi military training partnership.”
President Trump had to swallow his pride and gradually revoke his order. In early March of 2017, he revised the order excluding Iraq from the ban list. That September, he dropped Sudan too, but added North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.
In the last two decades since 9/11, there have been 16 “lethal jihadist terrorists in the United States”. Of them, “three are African-Americans, three are from families that hailed originally from Pakistan, one was born in Virginia to Palestinian immigrant parents, one was born in Kuwait to Palestinian-Jordanian parents, one was born in New York to a family from Afghanistan, two are white converts – one born in Texas, another in Florida, two came from Russia as youth, one emigrated from Egypt and conducted his attack a decade after coming to the United States, one emigrated from Uzbekistan and one was a Saudi Air Force officer in the United States for military training”. Nobody from the banned countries, nobody foreign citizens; all were American citizens.
What is more embarrassing for the Trump administration is the report saying: “When the data is extended to include individuals who conducted attacks inside the United States that were foiled or otherwise failed to kill anyone, there are only four cases that the travel ban could have applied to. However, in at least two of those cases, the individual entered the United States as a child. In a third case the individual had a history of mental illness and assault not related to jihadist terrorism. In a fifth, non-lethal attack Adam al-Sahli, who conducted a shooting at a military base in Corpus Christi on May 21, 2020, was born in Syria but was a citizen because his father was an American citizen and thus would not have been subject to the travel ban.”
The NewAmerica assessment, in contrast to the executive order, finds concrete evidence to suggest that the terror threat is “homegrown”. It gives the example of Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, “a naturalised citizen from Iran”, who on March 3, 2006 drove a car into a group of students at the University of North Carolina, injuring nine people. “Taheri-Azar, though born in Iran, came to the United States at the age of two” and “his radicalization was homegrown inside the United States”. On September 17, 2016 Dahir Adan, a naturalized citizen from Somalia, injured 10 people while wielding a knife at a mall in Minnesota. He too had come to the United States as a young child.
There are more such instances: “On November 28, 2016 Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old legal permanent resident who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia in 2014 — having left Somalia for Pakistan in 2007 — injured eleven people when he rammed a car into his fellow students on the campus of Ohio State University…However, it is not clear that the attack provides support for Trump’s travel ban.
In Artan’s case, he left Somalia as a pre-teen, and “if he was radicalized abroad, it most likely occurred while in Pakistan”, which is not included on the travel ban. The report says the chances of him being radicalised inside the United States are more. This is based on the fact that “in a Facebook posting prior to his attack, he cited Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric born in the United States, whose work — which draws largely upon American culture and history — has helped radicalize a wide range of extremists in the United States including those born in the United States”.
There are several other pointers to the “homegrown” theory. For one, a “large proportion of jihadists in the United States since 9/11 have been converts”. There are “jihadists” who are non-Muslims. These facts “challenge visions of counterterrorism policy that rely on immigration restrictions or focus almost entirely on second generation immigrant populations”, the report says, debunking the Trump executive order.
The NewAmerica report debunks the assumption that only “hot headed” people are attracted to jihadist extremism. It finds that “participation in jihadist terrorism has appealed to individuals ranging from young teenagers to those in their advanced years (and) many of those involved have been married and even had kids – far from the stereotype of the lone, angry youngster”.
Women have broken the glass ceiling of jihadist terrorism as “more women have been accused of jihadist terrorism crimes in recent years” inside the United States.
The expansion of the social media world has played a singular role in radicalising American youth. “Many extremists today either maintain public social media profiles displaying jihadist rhetoric or imagery or have communicated online using encrypted messaging apps. The percentage of cases involving such online activity has increased over time.” Al Qaeda terrorists became key figures in this proliferation. They “fine-tuned the message and the distribution apparatus” and “put out extremist propaganda via websites and YouTube videos”.
America’s jihadists were never an immigration problem, the biggest jihadist terror threat U.S faces today is “homegrown”.
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