The United Nations-proscribed Pakistani-banned terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has been seen openly collecting funds in Peshawar.
“The open fundraising by the banned terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Peshawar, Pakistan, has raised concerns about the resurgence of extremist groups in the country. The group is responsible for several terrorist attacks,” tweeted Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, the exiled leader & founder of the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP).
The JeM remerged after Financial Action Task Force (FATF) relaxed its hold on the country last year. They are openly backed by Pakistan security personnel.
In October 2022, the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) announced Pakistan’s removal from its grey list, stating that the country has primarily completed its action plans on anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism. Since June 2018, Pakistan has been on the FATF Greylist.
The Jaish Fund collection is not limited to Peshawar but is also visible in Pakistan’s Punjab, Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK), and other areas. Myriads of users on Twitter who witnessed this were seen discussing the incident on the social media platform. One of them deactivated his account after the tweets went viral.
According to Asif Afridi, a Twitter user, he recounted his experience during the Eid prayer, where he witnessed members of the proscribed outfit collecting funds openly in Peshawar in the presence of security personnel.
“Members of a banned outfit were collecting money openly in Peshawar in the presence of security personnel. My father, my brothers and I (six members in total) were there to pray the Eid prayer,” he said.
Another Twitter user, Ehsanullah Khan Jadoon, expressed his disappointment and shared that such fundraising is typical in Pakistan. “It is very normal for someone to stand up after prayers and openly ask for funds to fight Jihad in Palestine and Kashmir,” he said. “This was a frequent sight at our mosque in Karachi”.
The ease with which these groups can openly collect funds raises concerns about the government’s ability to crack down on terrorist activities.
It has been 14 years since Pakistan-sponsored terrorists struck Mumbai. The evidence of Pakistan’s links behind the bloodbath for three days in Mumbai was there for all to see. However, Pakistan chose to ignore India’s requests to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice over the past 14 years.
The global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog should continue to keep its pressure on the country as it just uses symbolic actions to curb terror financing.
Pakistan had to undergo long scrutiny to get itself off the list. The country was added to the “grey list” in the FATF’s plenary meeting in Paris in June 2018.
This was the third time Pakistan’s name was added to the list. Earlier, Pakistan was on the FATF’s grey list during 2008-2010 and 2012-2015 and had its name removed in February 2015.
Islamabad may not accept that it is systemically supporting terrorist activities. Still, it uses the loopholes in the system to help terrorists who not only engage in terrorism within Pakistan but also expand their terror activities in other countries, such as India, the glaring case being the Mumbai attacks in 2008, Pathankot and Uri attacks in 2016 and Pulwama in 2019, reported SSRI (South-South Research Initiative).
No concerted action had ever been taken against those involved in and financed the terror attacks in Mumbai, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), leaders like Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Sajid Mir. In the case of the head of the LeT, Hafiz Saeed, no action was taken, maybe because of Hafiz’s support in the country.
After being accused of his involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz organised a rally in Islamabad in September 2013, using provocative language against India even when the US had already announced an offer of USD 10 million for information about Hafiz.