ISLAMABAD (News10) – The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to maintain Pakistan’s status on its grey list of countries.
The country has remained in the list as it has been unable to comply with six of the 27 points in the global terror financing and money laundering watchdog’s action plan.
The Paris-based global watchdog for curbing terror financing and money laundering held its virtual plenary session from October 21 to 23 and reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan.
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. He said that the new deadline for Pakistan to fulfil the remaining conditions is February 2021.
The FATF president went on to say that as long as Pakistan can be seen progressing and fulfilling the requirements, it will be given a chance. Two countries, Iceland and Mongolia, were also removed from the FATF’s “black list”.
The statement added that Pakistan needed to work on four areas to address its strategic deficiencies, including by demonstrating that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF (terrorist financing) activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and those acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities.”
Pakistan also needs to demonstrate that “TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions,” it said. In other words steps that are seen as “cosmetic” without lasting impact will not do, said a person familiar with the matter.
Pakistan will also need to demonstrate “effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, preventing the raising and moving of funds including in relation to NPOs (non profit organizations) identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services,” it said. This referred to taking action against those deemed terrorists and terrorist organizations like the Lashkar e Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed by the UN Security Council in its resolutions, the person cited above said.
Besides this, Pakistan needed to show “enforcement against TFS (targeted financial sanctions) violations, including in relation to NPOs, of administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases,” it said.
Earlier responding to media queries regarding role of Saudi Arabia in assessment of Pakistan’s FATF Action Plan, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri had categorically rejected a false media report on FATF.
Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri rejected the story circulating in a segment of the media as false and baseless.
He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong fraternal ties and the two countries have always cooperated with each other on all matters of bilateral, regional and international importance.
The Spokesperson said Pakistan greatly values its relations with the brotherly Saudi Arabia and firmly rejects such malicious propaganda.
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.
Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
The FATF currently has 35 members and two regional organisations — the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group and was represented in the meeting by a team of officials from the ministries of Home, External Affairs and Finance.