Pakistan is under a lot of pressure at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting, currently underway in Paris, to rein in terror groups operating from its soil, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said on Monday.
“One of the biggest pressures that is coming on Pakistan today is because of the procedure of the FATF, I guess. The FATF has put so much pressure on them that no other action could have been so,” Doval said, addressing a meeting of the chiefs of Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATS). “The biggest pressure on Pakistan comes from the functionaries of the FATF.”
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money-laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the Paris-based watchdog in June last year and given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist with Iran and North Korea.
The Indian security establishment believes that chances are high at the ongoing plenary of the FATF for Pakistan to be retained on the “grey list” as it has complied with just one of the 40 recommendations set by it. If Pakistan continues in the “grey list”, it would be difficult for it to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank and European Union, making its financial condition more precarious.
The NSA also spoke of the approach of the judiciary in treating terrorists on par with ordinary cases.”They (courts) apply the same benchmarks and standards. Building up a case, you need eyewitnesses. From where do you bring eyewitnesses in terrorism cases? Firstly, there are few eyewitnesses in terrorism cases. It is very difficult for an ordinary citizen to depose against a dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammad or Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist,” he said.
He said the media is a very important organ in fighting terrorism, and advocated a transparent media policy for security agencies. “Take the media into confidence… Give them information so that people prepare themselves against terrorism,” he said.
The NSA said perception management is important in fighting terrorism and somebody should be trained to handle media. “Probably they (media) would be very supportive. Whenever you take them into confidence, they are very supportive. Frame a media policy,” he said.
The NSA said that if investigating agencies collect correct, sustainable and quotable information, which could be put before the international forums effectively, on how Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism, it would expose the country. “You all can contribute in your small way,” he said at the event organised by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Doval said that war has become an increasingly cost-ineffective instrument in achieving political and strategic objectives. “So increasingly, the reliance on war is on the instrument of covert actions. And in the instrument of covert actions, terrorism is one of the manifestations of covert actions that adversarial powers are using. It is a low-cost, sustainable option and it bleeds the enemy…,” he said.
Referring to Pakistan, the NSA said terrorism is a low-cost sustainable option that may damage “perceived enemies” to a great extent. “A state is supporting a criminal and some states have mastered this act. Pakistan has made terrorism an instrument of state policy. That has made it a very great challenge (for Indian security agencies),” he said.
Doval said that terrorism in India and many parts of the world is state-sponsored. “When I say it is state-sponsored terrorism, they not only provide training… they provide weapons, they provide ideology, they fix targets. More than that, they also give a higher degree of deniability and resources and technology… The criminal has the support of the state,” he said.