Despite support from Turkey and Malaysia, Pakistan to remain in Financial Action Task Force grey list (Photo Credit: File photo)
A sub-group of the global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Tuesday recommended Pakistan's continuation in the 'grey list' given its failure to check terror financing and a final decision will be taken on February 21, sources said. This comes even as Malaysia and Turkey came at Islamabad's rescue. Islamabad was being evaluated by the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG), which is a part of FATF, for the steps taken by the former on the implementation of its plan of action to curb terror funding.
Earlier, officials from the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of the 39-member FATF met in Paris to discuss the risk rating for Pakistan and Iran.
Morever, India has maintained that Pakistan extends regular support to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India, and has urged FATF to take action against Islamabad.
The plenary session of the FATF examined the money laundering and terrorist financing risks that countries face to set and promote global standards to tackle these risks.
Last week, an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan sentenced Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack and founder of LeT, to 11 years in two terror financing cases.
Saeed, a UN designated terrorist on whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty, was arrested on July 17, 2019 in the terror financing cases. The 70-year-old fiery cleric is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan.
Pakistan needs 12 votes out of 39 to exit the ‘Grey List’ and move to ‘White List’. To avoid ‘Black List’, it needs support of three countries. In the last month’s FATF meeting in Beijing, Pakistan has got support of Malaysia and Turkey besides FATF current chair China.
The FATF plenary held in October 2019 had 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. The FATF had said it strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February, 2020.
In the Beijing meeting, Pakistan provided a list of its action taken to comply with FATF directions. 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 ‘Black List’ 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 39 members including two regional organisations—the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.
India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group. If Pakistan continues with the ‘Grey List’, it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation.
(With PTI inputs)