The Foreign Office on Saturday rejected the “malicious” statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs regarding the conviction of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, leader of the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba, saying it was “unfortunate” that India was linking Pakistan’s due legal process with the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF) review.
“Pakistan categorically rejects the malicious statement by the MEA regarding conviction of a UN-designated individual by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan,” FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said in a statement.
“India has no locus standi to comment on the independent judicial mechanisms of Pakistan. In this regard the only ‘compliance’ that interests Pakistan is abiding by its own statutes and fulfillment of its international obligations,” the statement said.
A day earlier, India had questioned the timing of action against Lakhvi who was convicted of terror financing by a Lahore anti-terrorism court on Friday.
According to India Today, the MEA said that UN proscribed entities and designated terrorists “act as proxies for Pakistan’s establishment to fulfill Islamabad’s anti-India agenda”, adding that the action to convict Lakhvi was taken by Pakistan at this time to project a “sense of compliance” ahead of the upcoming Financial Action Taskforce meet.
Pakistan has been placed on the international financial watchdog’s ‘grey list’ – meaning it is a jurisdiction with strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism mechanisms – since 2018.
The watchdog has previously reviewed Pakistan’s performance four times – the last time in Oct 2020 – without any change to the country’s greylist status –and is set to hold another review next month (Feb 2021).
In today’s statement, the FO said: “Investigations, prosecutions and subsequent convictions, through due process, are a reflection of the effectiveness of Pakistan’s legal system, which operates independent of any extraneous factors or influences.
“India’s assertions to link Pakistan’s due legal process with FATF are unfortunate.