Pakistan To Stay On Terror Financing "Grey List" Till Feb 2021

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 24, 2020

CITING "STRATEGIC deficiencies" and non-compliance with six key markers in its 27-point action plan on terror-financing and money-laundering, Paris-based global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Friday said Pakistan will continue to remain on its grey list.

The decision was taken on Friday during the virtual plenary meeting of the FATF. But Pakistan hasn't been able to complete the 27-point action plan given to it by the FATF.

Reacting to the decision, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that Pakistan has "achieved impressive progress" on its FATF action plan.

"Pakistan failed to fulfil six of the 27 mandates given to check terror funding", Pleyer said, adding that Islamabad must impose sanctions and prosecute those involved in terror financing.

Qureshi mentioned that Pakistan had ensured compliance of 21 out of 27 action items and called upon the FATF to "positively assess and acknowledge the country's efforts".

Pakistan also needs to demonstrate effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1,267 and 1,373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, preventing the raising and moving of funds including in relation to NPOs, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services.

Addressing press conference through video link, FATF President Dr Marcus Player said that once the remaining six conditions are fulfilled, an "on site visit" will be approved under which a team from the FATF will visit the country for the next review.

Pakistan has been on the FATF's grey list since June 2018.

Pakistan was placed on the watch list in 2018, making foreign firms more cautious about investing in the South Asian nation, which is dealing with a struggling economy and a balance-of-payment crisis.

A day earlier, the Foreign Office (FO) rejected baseless reports circulating in the media claiming Saudi Arabia had voted against Pakistan at the FATF session.

The plenary was earlier scheduled in June but got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakistan's position will be up for review in the next meeting of the FATF to be held in February next year.

He said FATF will announce its assessment of Pakistan s progress on the Action Plan and the future course of action after conclusion of its Plenary Meeting.

"Instead of current Action Plan, discussions remained focused on how Pakistan can be facilitated for our upcoming 2nd evaluation (MER), due mid next year". In September, the joint session of the Parliament amended about 15 laws to upgrade its legal system matching worldwide standards as required by the FATF.

The authorities were hopeful of a positive outcome after the country enacted at least 15 pieces of legislation, many of them through a joint sitting of Parliament, to fulfil the requirements set by the global watchdog. "Then only a decision will be taken if it comes out of the grey list or not", he said.

This month, the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering had also retained Pakistan on its "Enhanced Follow-Up" list for a meager progress on technical recommendations of FATF to fight money laundering and terror financing.

"India's plans to push Pakistan into the black list of FATF will fail because of the steps the country has taken to meet the requirements of the global money laundering and terror financing watchdog", he said.

India on Thursday reiterated that Islamabad had not taken any action on terror havens in the country.

Countries on the blacklist - or "high-risk jurisdictions" - have significant strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation, according to the watchdog.

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