ISLAMABAD: A ministerial committee led by Ministry of Finance will meet first time at the Foreign Office next week to finalize an action plan in compliance with the decision of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which placed Pakistan on the global terror financing watch list.
Secretary Interior Arshad Mirza informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, chaired by Abdul Rehman Malik, that the Ministry of Finance is the leading agency in evolving an action plan which will be submitted to the FATF. "It is for the first time that ministerial committee led by Ministry of Finance and represented by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior will meet next week to discuss modalities to respond to the FATF," he said.
He said that the FATF has given Pakistan time until June to show permanent credible action on queries raised against it.
He said that the government is removing certain deficiencies in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) framework of Pakistan. "We are able to meet three demands of FATF: restriction on traveling of proscribed individuals and organizations; arms embargo and fund raising by them."
He said that the government also amended the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 with regard to proscription of terrorist individuals and organizations. He further explained that the government has completed a geographical mapping of bank accounts and assets of proscribed individuals and organizations and confiscated their properties.
The secretary interior told the committee that after having deliberations in Paris, they got time period of three months so they are working to address their reservations and allegations.
The committee was informed that actions against proscribed organizations are being taken; the government of Punjab has taken over 148 assets associated with JuD/FIF in nine divisions of the province, there were a few assets in Gilgit-Baltistan which were also taken over, while the ICT administration has taken over three immovable assets of JuD/FIF including hospitals/dispensaries and directed Pakistan Red Crescent to take over seven ambulances associated with JuD/FIF.
Responding to Chaudhry Tanvir Khan's question regarding closing of religious seminaries, the secretary clarified that the government did not close any religious seminary; however, it took charge of those religious seminaries run by proscribed organizations. He said that the government did not close any 'religious seminary.'
The committee also took serious notice that the government of KPK allocated a huge amount for the Madrassa Haqqania, Akora Khattak. Senator Shahi Syed said that this religious seminary is famous for production of Taliban and its head Maulana Samiul Haq is known as "Father of Taliban" yet the government of KPK is allocating huge amount to it from public money. The chairman committee summoned the chief minister and chief secretary KPK on next meeting to explain under which rule the said amount was allocated to one religious seminary.
The committee took notice of incident of 11 Pakistani nationals, who were drowned in the migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya. The FIA director informed the committee that all those who died in the incident had legal visas of UAE and they were carrying the original travelling documents. He informed the committee that there are 36 accused in the case out of which 27 are in Pakistan and 18 of them were arrested. The committee directed the FIA to send their agent to the UAE for investigation how they (deceased) were departed from the UAE to other countries.
The committee was also briefed by Additional Inspector General Sindh Police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi about incident of attack on Chinese citizens where one person was killed and the other one got injured.
Additional IG police briefed the committee about attacks on Chinese citizens and informed that three cases have been reported and six accused were arrested. He said that in the case of Karachi incident, police said that it was a non-CPEC company and investigation is underway with a lead towards culprits. The additional IG Sindh police told the committee that the government of Sindh has taken serious measures to protect the Chinese citizens working on CPEC and its associated companies as they have been provided the official security but non-CPEC companies' security is monitored by private security agencies. He said that the government of Sindh has deployed 5,000 security personnel for CPEC security. He said that Chinese are received by their concerned advisors at airports and there is well specified security system for them.
The secretary interior told the committee that 9,200 Army personnel and 4,500 civilian personnel have been deployed and assigned for the security of CPEC.
Senator Rehman Malik directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to evaluate a performa for Chinese citizens so they can get registration at airport and the NADRA should help in developing software especially for Chinese, adding that it should be monitored by all provincial police headquarters and NACTA to ensure their security.
The RPO DI Khan briefed the committee about 'the investigation done regarding incidents of target killing of a specific sect in DI Khan' of which the committee has taken serious notice. Malik said that the people of specific sect i.e. Shiite Muslims are being targeted which is a matter of serious concern. He asked the police if such killings are aimed at provoking sectarian violence in the country. He said that ongoing killings of a specific sect show that the provincial government has failed in protecting Shiite Muslims. He said that there must be a hidden hand behind such killings to incite sectarian clashes in the country. He directed to highlight the Shiite and Sunni killings in DI Khan so that the nation may know that such killings are aimed at inciting sectarian clashes. The RPO DI Khan said that the police have noticed that the same day a Shiite Muslim and a Sunni Muslim were killed in target killing incidents by the same weapon and the time difference between the both incidents was only forty minutes.
The RPO DI Khan said that over 70 activists of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba and 40 persons of Hussaini Tigers were placed in the 4th Schedule. He said that behind the target killings, the main suspects identified belong to Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the services of Easy Paisa are being used for the terror financing.
Malik directed the RPO to enlist all the terrorists of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and directed the Interior Ministry to investigate the use of Easy Paisa for terror financing as revealed by RPO DI Khan. The chairman directed that the conspiracy behind the target killings in DI Khan must be exposed and it is a challenge for KPK police to stop target killings in DI Khan and expose the terrorists and their groups.
The chairman also directed the police to get the help of Google Mapping for those particular areas where the target killings are taking place. The RPO told the committee that in killing of Advocate Iftikhar Hussain, whose uncle and a cousin were also killed a year ago, the suspects were identified as Qari Asif and Haji Illyas of Sipah-e-Sahaba.
The committee was also briefed by NADRA chairman regarding discrimination being meted out on ethnic grounds at the NADRA centers in Karachi, wherein staff was directed to send Pashtu speaking people to helping desk before issuing token. The NADRA chairman denied the notice and termed it a fake one.
At the end of the meeting, Malik thanked all for their cooperation extended to the committee during the last three years.