International

FATF keeps Pakistan on grey list till next review in February 2021

FATF president Marcus Pleyer addresses a virtual press conference after the FATF plenary session on October 23, 2020. Photo: Facebook/theFATF  

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday decided to keep Pakistan on the “greylist” till the next review of its compliance to the recommendations in February next year.

“Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021,” said an FATF statement issued in Paris at the end of the Plenary session, on the decision to keep Pakistan in the list of "Jurisdictions under increased monitoring" or greylist. 

At the FATF Plenary, sources said, Turkey proposed that the members should consider Pakistan’s good work and instead of waiting for completion of the remaining six of the 27 parameters, an FATF on-site team should visit Pakistan to finalise its assessment.

On-site teams are permitted only after jurisdictions complete their Action Plans. Normally such a visit is a signal for exit from the grey or black list. When the proposal was placed before the 38-member Plenary, no other member seconded the move. It was not supported by even China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, according to the sources.

The FATF finally decided to keep Pakistan in the “greylist”, as was earlier reported by The Hindu. Pakistan has now almost four months to comply with the recommendations as its performance will now be put to scrutiny in the next Plenary in February 2021.

The points on which Pakistan failed to deliver included its lack of action against the charitable organisations or non-profit organisations linked to the terror groups banned by the UN Security Council; and delays in the prosecution of banned individuals and entities like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed and LeT operations chief, Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi, as well as Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.

While Saeed was sentenced in February this year to 11 years in prison for terror financing, and he remains behind bars, the Pakistan government claims the others are “untraceable”. Queries have been raised on each of the missing persons and about the efforts made to trace them.

The FATF has also noted that there were few convictions of terror commanders of UN-designated entities affiliated to the Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network. Pakistan was found non-compliant in cracking down on terror financing through narcotics and smuggling of mining products including precious stones.

The FATF process also showed concern about the 4,000 names that were on Pakistan’s Schedule-IV list under the Anti-Terrorism Act up to January, but went missing in September 2020. Pakistan has been asked as to how this happened.

The FATF “greylist” refers to countries that are “monitored jurisdictions”, while the “blacklist” refers to those facing a “call to action” or severe banking strictures, sanctions and difficulties in accessing loans.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 4:14:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/terror-financing-watchdog-fatf-keeps-pakistan-on-greylist-till-next-review-in-february-2021/article32931451.ece

Next Story