ISLAMABAD: In a fresh push to choke terror funding, the government invited a ‘brotherly’ country’s top diplomat on Wednesday, calling for a fresh clampdown on organisations and individuals financing sectarian and banned organisations operating in Pakistan.
Yesterday, on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the interior ministry approached the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for an urgent meeting to discuss matters related to the funding of madrassahs/mosques by Saudi philanthropists, officials said.
“A senior Saudi diplomat is meeting Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar right now. Both are deliberating how to stop financial support of banned outfits from Saudi Arabia, among other issues,” a senior official of the interior ministry told The Express Tribune.
He recalled that a group of experts has already recommended to the National Action Plan Committee that Tehran, Riyadh, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should be asked to stop funding religious groups that are banned in Pakistan.
Nisar, in light of the NAP committee’s proposals, is sharing intelligence agencies’ reports on foreign funding to various religious groups banned in Pakistan with the visiting guest, an interior ministry official said.
The minister is also briefing a Saudi diplomat about the behaviour of proscribed organisations, which was gauged by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), he hoped.
Further, the official said Saudi Arabia’s $1 million grant for the maintenance and renovation of Faisal Mosque also came under discussion.
“The roots of extremism in Pakistan have often been traced to groups operating in a neighbouring country on the western border, as well as in countries with large Pakistani diasporas such as Gulf states,” said Pakistan’s internal national security policy.
Security analyst Imtiaz Gul opined that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states could help us get rid of elements being funded by Saudi philanthropists.
Riyadh, UAE and other Arab countries could form new laws to regulate private donations which otherwise always believed to be misused by some extreme religious groups, Gul observed.
“Brotherly countries can audit the money being financed to proscribed religious groups in Pakistan accordingly,” Gul said.
After meeting the Saudi diplomat, Nisar will brief the premier about the latest development on madrassahs/schools reforms, as well as on the holistic and speedy implementation of the NAP’s 20 points.
Today, the interior ministry, NACTA and NCMC officials are briefing the prime minister regarding the outcome of more than a dozen sub-committees to execute the NAP.
The meeting will focus on the formation of military courts, reformation in madrassahs, proposed legislation on hate speech, and literature and other points of the NAP.