The Islamic State, or Daesh as it is commonly known, may not be operationally active in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, but they might be using it for financing and recruitment purposes. Such a conclusion seems reasonable, since traces of the group were found in the area but they never translated into a permanent presence. However, even in the face of mounting evidence this narrative has been consistently sidelined by the authorities. Recent reports by the US Treasury Department and the British government claim that a portion of the funds poured into Syria have been diverted from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and also point out that that the larger terrorist financing network – which funds groups from the Haqqani Network to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – is still operational, and according to some estimates, relatively unimpeded.

All of this flies in the face of the shinning narrative of success that the military is presenting regarding the military operations and the National Action Plan (NAP). Terrorist financing was one of the first agendas of the NAP, and if groups like Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) can brazenly collect funds through its charity fronts Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) then the NAP has failed. Closing suspected bank accounts and tightening remittance and banking rules are superficial steps if the physical network of financing is still booming. The JUD and the FIF do not even employ subterfuge while carrying out their activities – they don’t feel the need to – the province of Punjab can attest to that.

Stemming the flow of Ramzan donations and intercepting trucks loaded with hides is the simplest of tasks, only if the will to do so is present.

The JUD, LeT and FIF and other Punjab based groups may not be a direct threat to the state at the present, but the state has no control over where the funds generated by them end up. Reports indicate that the final beneficiary are often much more active and insidious groups.

Before the government and the military begin to vociferously deny these allegations it must keep two things in minds. Firstly, it cannot use statements made by the US on the progress of the military operation to claim success – as General Raheel Sharif did at a dinner few days ago – and dismiss negative reports made by the same country as ‘baseless’. Statements made by the US are either legitimate or baseless, they cannot be both. Secondly, the people of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have themselves witnessed the annual fund run by these groups; denial is out of question.

It is about time the military and the government moves beyond paying lip service to the NAP.