Pak didn’t take action against Masood Azhar, Sajid Mir: US

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Terrorist groups targeting India, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) its affiliated front organisations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) have continued to operate from Pakistani territory, the US said in a new report.

Pakistan did not take action against other known terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar; and 2008 Mumbai attack “project manager” Sajid Mir; both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan, it added.

Though the Al Qaeda has weakened, its regional affiliate in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) has continued to operate from remote locations that have served as safe havens, the report said.

Regionally, however, terrorist groups continued to operate from Pakistan. Groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani Network, also continue to operate, the report said.

Pakistan made additional progress in 2020 toward completing its Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan, but did not complete all Action Plan items, and remained on the FATF “grey list”.

The report said Pakistan took steps in 2020 to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused militant groups from conducting attacks. Pakistan convicted LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and four other senior leaders in multiple terrorism financing cases.

The Sindh High Court overturned the 2002 convictions of Omar Sheikh and three co-conspirators for the 2002 kidnapping and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl on April 2 and ordered their release.

Sheikh remained detained while provincial and federal officials’ appeals continued through the end of the year.

The US continues to build its strategic partnership with the Government of India, including through bilateral engagements such as the 17 Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and Third Designations Dialogue in September, as well as the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in October.

Indian counterterrorism forces, at the federal and state levels, actively detected and disrupted transnational and regional terror forces.

The National Investigation Agency examined 34 terrorism-related cases related to the Islamic State terror group and arrested 160 persons, including 10 alleged Al Qaeda operatives from Kerala and West Bengal, in September, the report said.

(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.s@ians.in)

20211217-120732

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