Terror financing watchdog keeps Pakistan on ‘grey list’
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday retained Pakistan on its “grey list” and urged the country to complete an action plan to counter terror financing before June, including steps to investigate and prosecute individuals and entities involved in such activities.
The outcome was widely anticipated, though Pakistan has failed to meet all deadlines set by the multilateral watchdog to complete the 27-point action plan that was drawn up after the country was placed on the grey list - which is the list of countries under increased monitoring - in June 2018.
In a statement, the FATF noted that Pakistan has made “significant progress” on the entire action plan, and has “largely addressed 24 of the 27 action items”.
However, FATF president Marcus Pleyer pointed out that the deficiencies yet to be addressed are all “serious” as they are related to terror financing.
“Pakistan remains under increased monitoring. The FATF recognises that Pakistan has made significant progress in its effort to improve its anti money laundering and counterterrorism financing framework. However, some serious deficiencies remain,” Pleyer told a virtual news briefing at the end of the watchdog’s three-day plenary meeting.
All of these deficiencies are in areas that relate to terrorist financing. Out of 27 items on its action plan, three still need to be fully addressed. I again recognise the progress that Pakistan has made but I strongly urge the completion of the action plan,” he added.
Focus on three remaining items in the action plan
The statement called on Islamabad to “continue to work on implementing the three remaining items in its action plan to address its strategically important deficiencies”.
The steps to be taken by the Pakistan government include “demonstrating that TF (terror financing) investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities”.
Pakistan should also demonstrate that terror financing “prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions”, and that there is “effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions” against all terrorists sanctioned under UN Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373, and “specifically those acting for or on their behalf”.
“As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan before June 2021,” the statement said.
Review at next plenary meeting in June
Pleyer said that further steps taken by Pakistan will be reviewed at the FATF’s next plenary meeting in June.
The statement noted that Pakistan’s “continued political commitment has led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT (counter financing of terrorism) action plan”, including demonstrating that law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of terror financing activity.
The plenary meeting followed several rounds of meetings of the FATF’s working groups since February 11.