Pakistan Court Orders Arrest Of JeM Terrorist Masood Azhar
A judge in an anti-terrorism court has issued an arrest warrant against Pulwama mastermind Masood Azhar, in what looks like an orchestrated move to avoid the country from getting blacklisted during PM Imran Khan’s upcoming FATF meet
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s Gujranwala issued an arrest warrant against fugitive Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar on Thursday on charges of funding terror activities. The order was given by judge Natasha Naseem Supra following a hearing on this matter filed by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab police against the militant outfit.
While this looks like a positive step by the country, the decision to arrest the Pulwama attacks mastermind comes just ahead of the Imran Khan administration’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting. Prior to this, the Indian government and intelligence agencies had presented enough proof and intel to corroborate Azhar’s involvement in the Kashmir attack that killed 40 Indian policemen. However, no action was taken against the globally recognized terrorist, with Pakistan in fact protecting him by giving him refuge.
In June 2018, the FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list, giving a warning to Islamabad to curb money laundering and put a permanent stop to terror financing by the end of 2019. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the deadline was extended. According to the country’s prime minister, they had managed to complete 21 of the 27-point checklist in order to avoid getting blacklisted by the global watchdog. For this, it had imposed financial sanctions on 88 terror groups and their chiefs, including Azhar.
After yesterday’s court session, the magistrate has asked for the JeM supremo to be produced before the judiciary on Friday.
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