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UN sanctions monitoring team due in Pakistan next week

Islamabad’s compliance to be assessed

Gulf News

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Security Council’s sanctions monitoring team will visit Islamabad on a two-day trip starting next Thursday for an assessment of Pakistan’s compliance with the world body’s sanctions regime, Dawn reported.

“The monitoring team of the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee will be here on Jan 25 and 26,” a senior official said.

The visit is taking place amid increasing pressure on Pakistan from the United States and India with respect to the alleged inadequate implementation of the sanctions on Hafiz Saeed and entities linked to him.

However, Pakistani officials, insist the trip is a routine visit. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert had at a briefing on Friday said that the US had clearly conveyed its concerns to Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed and called for his prosecution “to the fullest extent of the law”. She had recalled that Saeed’s name was on the UN list of designated terrorists.

The US reaction had come after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a television interview that, “there is no case against Hafiz Saeed sahib in Pakistan. If there was a case, action would be taken. This is an issue that comes to the fore repeatedly, but there is no truth in it”.

The terms of reference of the monitoring team for Pakistan visit are not publicly known, but as per its general mandate it assists the 1,267 Committee in keeping an eye on the freezing of the financial assets of listed persons and entities and checking provision of training and other material to them and their travel. The team intimates instances of non-compliance to the committee through its reports. At the same time it also advises and assists member states on implementation of the regime.

A Pakistani official gave a positive spin to the trip saying it would give an opportunity to share the steps taken by the government to implement the sanctions regime.

Pakistan’s mission at the UN had in last February submitted an implementation report to the committee detailing the travel restrictions, the arms embargo, the measures to prevent the illicit export of crude oil, and freezing of funds and other financial assets or economic resources of individuals and entities issued under the UNSC counterterrorism resolutions.

The government has taken a number of steps ahead of the monitoring team’s visit. In one instance, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan barred companies from making donations to the entities and individuals listed under the UNSC’s sanctions Committee’s consolidated list.

PM Abbasi also recently chaired a meeting on anti-money laundering measures.

Pakistan has remained under the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) scanner over allegations by the US and India about the UNSC sanctions not being fully implemented.