Nacta’s claim fails scrutiny

Apr 10 2015

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Nacta, in its last NAP implementation report may have misled the prime minister. — Photo courtesy Nacta official facebook page
Nacta, in its last NAP implementation report may have misled the prime minister. — Photo courtesy Nacta official facebook page

KARACHI: The country’s top counter-terror coordination body may have misled the prime minister in its latest implementation report.

Nacta, in its last National Action Plan (NAP) implementation report sent to the government, claimed that “State Bank frozen (sic) 120 accounts of proscribed organisations”, adding that the amount of money frozen as a result is Rs10.3bn.

The State Bank spokesman would not comment on the figures given by Nacta, since they have not been made publically.

But sources within the State Bank, with direct knowledge of the matter, say these accounts have been frozen over a time period spanning more than a decade. Nacta’s implementation report for NAP implies that such funds have been identified and frozen as part of NAP, which was announced by the prime minister in his speech to the nation on Dec 25 in response to the Peshawar tragedy.

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Moreover, the total amount of money in these frozen accounts is “slightly over Rs1bn” say the sources, contrary to Nacta’s claim of Rs10.3bn.

The amount is “not very significant” says Salim Raza, former Governor of the State Bank, “especially given the context in Pakistan during these years”.

Standard procedure whenever an organisation is proscribed dictates that the ministry of interior should ask the State Bank to freeze its accounts. The State Bank then directs banks to freeze the accounts, after providing account details.

Pakistan began designating and proscribing terrorist organisations in 2001. Since then, the list of proscribed terrorist organisations has grown to include 60 entries, with an additional two organisations proscribed under UN resolution 1267.

The proscription of terrorist organisations began with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in August 2001 with the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSSM) being the last one proscribed in March 2013. This means an average of Rs16m per organisation has been frozen in 14 years of designating groups as terrorist entities.

Pursuing terror financing was identified as a key objective in the NAP, but thus far there is little evidence that any substantive actions have been taken towards this goal.

The implementation report lists actions such as “M/O Finance, State Bank and FIA are pursuing terrorist financing cases”. But thus far, Nacta has not been able to even agree on a final list of proscribed outfits, largely due to controversy surrounding organisations listed by the UN under resolution 1267, which includes groups like the Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-insaniat Foundation (FiF).

These groups were included in a list of proscribed organisations put up on the Nacta website in early January, then the list was taken down.

The implementation report also says 64 cases of hundi and anti-money laundering have been registered, without specifying whether these had any terrorism links, and whether this action was taken as part of NAP or predates it.

Nacta chief did not return repeated requests for comment.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2015

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