FATF retains Pakistan in ‘grey list’, delivers a sharp warning on blacklisting
Pakistan will remain in terror funding watchdog FATF’s “grey list” but has been given a sharp warning to deliver on the remaining 13 action points in the next four months or risk being blacklisted, people familiar with the development said.
The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, which reviewed reports from Pakistan on the action taken to curb terror financing by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government at its 16-21 February plenary, found many gaps in Pakistan’s delivery on its 27-point pledge.
People familiar with the development said Pakistan’s less than impressive record on conviction and prosecution of top leaders of terror groups was one of the 13 points that the FATF has faulted Islamabad for.
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Pakistan, which has about 40 terror groups, had attempted to showcase the conviction of Jamaat-ud-Dawa emir Hafiz Saeed as a reflection of its commitment to act against terror. But it had to face hard questions about other global terrorists including Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Dawood Ibrahim who are sheltered by its establishment.
“The FATF has again expressed serious concerns on Pakistan’s failure to complete its 27-point action plan and took a harsh view of the fact that it has only implemented half of its action plan,” a person familiar with the development at the FATF plenary told Hindustan Times.
The FATF, he said, had “strongly asked Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020 and warned that FATF could blacklist Pakistan if it does not make “significant and sustainable progress especially in penalising terror financing”.
It is a clear message to PM Imran Khan’s government that Islamabad must take urgent credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable steps to effectively implement the FATF Action Plan and address global concerns related to terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from territory under its control, a second person familiar with the FATF functioning said.
The Indian foreign ministry has refused to comment on the FATF meeting. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing earlier in the day that he couldn’t comment on the FATF plenary since these discussions are confidential”.
“We do hope that proceeding on objective and technical criteria, FATF will hold Pakistan accountable for non-compliance of its action plan,” Raveesh Kumar told the news conference.
Islamabad has been on the Grey List since June 2018, making it harder for its government to access international markets at a time when the country’s economy has been faltering. PM Imran Khan has, on more than one occasion, blamed India for seeking action against Islamabad at FATF.