Pakistan stays in FATF ‘grey list’, given June deadline to implement action plan
Pakistan was retained in the “grey list” of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which examined its efforts to counter terror financing and money laundering. The decision was taken at the meeting of the multilateral watchdog on Thursday.
"Pakistan should continue to work on implementing the three remaining items in its action plan to address its strategically important deficiencies, namely by: demonstrating that TF investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of designated persons or entities; demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf," the FATF said in a statement to.
The anti-terror financing organisation noted today that Islamabad has now largely addressed 24 of the 27 action items and gave Islamabad time till June 2021 to complete the full action plan.
FATF president Marcus Pleyer said that Pakistan has made "significant progress" but "some serious deficiencies remain" and all these deficiencies are "in the realm of terror financing". Pleyer added that Pakistan "remains under increased monitoring".
"I strongly urge the completion of the action plan," he said.
The FATF concluded its three-day virtual plenary meeting today, following several rounds of meetings of its working groups since February 11.
Pakistan has been on the FATF's grey list since June 2018.
A research paper by an Islamabad-based independent think tank estimated that Pakistan sustained a total of USD 38 billion in economic losses due to FATF's decision to keep the country on its grey list, the Express Tribune reported. It further reported that the losses are worked out on the basis of a decrease in consumption expenditures, foreign direct investment and exports.
At its last plenary in October 2020, FATF concluded that Pakistan had fully complied with 21 of 27 points in the action plan but warned the country that it could not be given “forever” to address outstanding issues. As all deadlines for the action plan had expired, FATF had urged Pakistan to deliver on all 27 points by February 2021.
Some European nations had supported the stance to keep Pakistan in the grey list also said that Islamabad has not fully implemented all the points of a plan of action set by the FATF.
On Tuesday, a group of protesters had gathered at the FATF headquarters in Paris to persuade the anti-terror financing organisation to place Pakistan on the blacklist. The protesters said they want to highlight Islamabad's continued support to terror groups and terror financing.
"Pakistani courts recently ordered release Omar Sheikh, the terrorist who killed Daniel Pearl. Pakistani judiciary is compromised. It's working on dictates of Pakistani military which sponsors terrorism," tweeted South Asia Press, one of the groups which was part of then protest.