International

Terror funding watchdog puts Pakistan on notice

Financial Action Task Force’s president Xiangmin Liu opens the plenary meeting of the Terror financing watchdog in Paris. Photo: Twitter/@FATFNews

Financial Action Task Force’s president Xiangmin Liu opens the plenary meeting of the Terror financing watchdog in Paris. Photo: Twitter/@FATFNews  

Financial Action Task Force president Xiangmin Liu said Pakistan has been under the enhanced monitoring process or grey list since June 2018 and has not made sufficient progress.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan on the “grey list” and gave a stern warning that it will be blacklisted if it does not fulfil the global standards criteria on combating terrorist financing by February 2020. 

The terror financing watchdog discussed Pakistan's actions for countering terror financing and anti-money laundering at the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) plenary in Paris that concluded on Friday. 

Pakistan has been under the enhanced monitoring process or grey list since June 2018 and has not made sufficient progress, said FATF president Xiangmin Liu. 

“Despite the high-level commitment to fix these weaknesses, Pakistan has not made enough progress but has made tangible progress under this new government, which FATF welcomes,” the FATF president said. 

However, he added, “Majority of action plans remain outstanding, Pakistan needs to do more and do it faster. Pakistan’s failure to fulfil FATF global standards, it is an issue we take very seriously.”

“And as a result the FATF is giving a clear warning, if by February 2020 the country has not made significant progress we will consider further action, which potentially include placing the country under the public statements, also referred to as the blacklist. The main purpose is to not punish rather than incentivise, to make those changes and make them faster,” Mr. Xiangmin said. 

Since Pakistan continues to be in the FATF 'Grey List' , it would be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, ADB and the European Union.

According to a statement, the Task Force noted that Pakistan addressed only five out of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, responsible for a series of attacks in India.

“Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their Financial Institutions to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan,” FATF said in the statement.

"The FATF again expresses serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its terror financing risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational terror financing risks, and more broadly, Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the terror financing risks emanating from the jurisdiction. To date, Pakistan has only largely addressed five of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan,” the FATF statement said.

Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June last year and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea.

Pakistan was previously placed on the FATF's grey list in February 2012, and had been removed from the grey list in February 2015 after it passed a National Action Plan (NAP) to deal with terrorism after the Peshawar School massacre in December 2014. It was placed under severe restrictions in the years 2008-2012. 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.

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Printable version | May 18, 2020 2:49:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/fatf-retains-pakistan-in-grey-list/article29733451.ece

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