New Delhi: With a team of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) likely to visit Pakistan by the end of this month, Islamabad is said to be preparing grounds for declaring terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as “missing and untraceable”. Even as all eyes are on whether or not Pakistan takes an action against Azhar, the security agencies in Islamabad are just “going through the motions” of searching for the whereabouts of Masood Azhar. “They are not serious and are simulating action. Pakistan is trying to mislead the FATF once again. The team of the global terror watchdog is going to visit Islamabad from 28 August,” diplomatic sources told The Sunday Guardian. “India is closely monitoring activities of the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan to check whether they present the real case to the FATF or not. If they do not do so, then India through diplomatic channels will raise it,” sources added. “New Delhi has already urged the FATF to ask Pakistan for credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures to curb terror funding and terrorism emanating from territory under its control,” officials said.

Sources said that the FATF team comprising experts on counter-terrorism strategies will be visiting Pakistan to verify whether it has carried out task list actions or not. The team is expected to visit Islamabad and other cities for an “on-site visit” to verify whether Pakistan has carried out all the actions on its 34-point task list. If the team is satisfied with its findings, Pakistan is expected to be formally taken off the “grey list” during the FATF’s next plenary session in October this year. Pakistan has been on the grey list of FATF since 2018, and is making all possible efforts to get off the list. “But Pakistan’s action against dreaded terrorists like Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, etc. leave a lot to be desired,” officials told this newspaper.

Pakistan is understood to be in the final stages of its efforts to be dropped from the grey list this year. Paris-based terror funding watchdog is expecting Pakistan’s action against Masood Azhar and also against his brother Abdul Rauf, sources said. But the action is missing in Pakistan. Sources told this newspaper that Pakistani agencies including ISI are busy preparing grounds to declare Azhar and his family missing and untraceable. According to sources, agencies are deliberately closing their eyes to the whereabouts of Azhar and his key aides, who reportedly live in Muridke and Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Several Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists are also said to be living in these regions, but Pakistan’s security agencies never took any action against them. Azhar’s terror outfit JeM has been involved in a series of terror attacks in India, like hijack of IC-814 Indian Airlines aircraft in 1999, the Parliament attack in 2001, etc.

“With the solid evidence available to establish their whereabouts, it is just ridiculous that Pakistan law enforcement agencies are discussing tracking Azhar’s movements,” sources said, adding, “Pakistan has on earlier occasions also told the FATF that Azhar was missing. The official version of the Pakistan government in the past has been that Azhar is missing along with his family and cannot be traced. Earlier, Pakistan had in a bid to mislead FATF started lodging fake and weak FIRs against terror groups and terrorists operating on its soil.