Pakistan drops thousands of terrorists from watch-list

Akhilesh Suman

Pakistan Flag (File Photo)

Pakistan Flag (File Photo)

In a disturbing development, Pakistan has deleted names of nearly 3,800 terrorists from its official watch-list, thereby removing any restriction that potentially prevents them from running terror activities.

The watch-list is maintained by Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).

The development is prompting India to take up the issue with the Financial Action Task Force and seek a review of Pakistan’s credentials in the fight against terror.

Pakistan still has four more months to prove its commitment to the war on terror and avoid being blacklisted by the FATF since its last meeting in February.

Since March 9 this year, Pakistan has allegedly deleted 1900 names of known terror-linked individuals without any notification to the public or the FATF. It has also not informed the FATF about why it removed 3,800 names of terrorists since October 2018 so far.
Information about Pakistan’s delisting terror-linked individuals was compiled by Castellum AI, American terror watchdog that tracks global terrorists. Castellum AI released its information on its website on Sunday.

Its report says that 7600 proscribed persons from the Punjab province of Pakistan figure on the terror watch-list. Castellum.AI says 3,800 names of have been removed “without explanation or notification to the public”.

The report says that since March 9, Pakistani authorities removed 1,869 names. Of them, 1,069 were struck off between March 9 and March 27. About 800 were removed subsequently.

All these names are now in a “denotified” list, a term Pakistan uses to indicate their formal removal from the watch list.

Included in the removed names is that of LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhi, one of the masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

In February this year, the FATF gave Pakistan four months to implement a 27-point action plan to stop terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan will face the FATF scrutiny once again in October.