Rome: Ahead of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary on Pakistan scheduled later in February, Islamabad has yet to clean up its act on terror financing.

Federico Giuliani, covering Asian events for Il Giornale - Gli Occhi della Guerra, writing in Italy-based news website Inside Over said that the Paris-based watchdog placed Pakistan in the 'Grey List' in 2018 on its performance to address international concerns on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).

Pakistan will once again present its case before the international financial watchdog and try to convince it that it has delivered on all the high-level commitments it had made, not just in terms of tightening the laws and regulations but also in terms of successfully prosecuting and punishing people involved in money laundering and terror finance.

The reality is however contrary to every assertion being made by Pakistan before the FATF. Not only has Pakistan not cleaned up its act on AML/CFT, but it also has no intention of doing so, said Giuliani.

The reason is simple, the real problem is not that non-state actors are involved in money laundering and terror finance; it is the state agencies that are involved in this activity and they use the non-state actors and criminal networks as a front to carry out their nefarious activities.

Moreover, recent events in Europe have shown how Pakistani intelligence agencies are laundering money and financing terrorism in other countries, including in the UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Canada, said Giuliani.

Shortly after Pakistan was placed on the 'Grey List' the government announced that it had seized over PKR 1 billion from accounts linked to UN-designated terror groups.

But recently it was revealed that all the seized funds had since been released to the account holders; likewise for assets of designated individuals and entities.

The real big story has come out of London where a Pakistani origin man has been charged for trying to assassinate a dissident blogger based in the Netherlands. According to the prosecution, the funds for the assassin were routed through Hawala networks using Pakistani banks and money laundering networks.

Clearly, the only lot with any real interest in targeting the blogger was the Pakistani military establishment. The evidence presented in court clearly points at the intelligence agencies in Pakistan, though it does not name them, reported Inside Over.

These networks do not operate only inside Pakistan but are also operated by Pakistanis settled in Europe and North America.

Take for instance the bust in France of a Pakistani network involved in money laundering and fraud using fake companies and forged documents. The French police arrested 11 Pakistani-origin men and seized over Euro 1 million in this particular bust, said Giuliani.

The FATF should demand an explanation from Pakistan on the money laundering in the London case. The Europeans too should ask the Pakistanis some tough questions because the London case documents reveal that there were other Pakistanis dissidents in continental Europe who were on a hit list. This hitlist included a journalist in France as well, said Giuliani.