Despite intensive lobbying, Pakistan yet again remains in the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (Pic: Courtesy geo.tv)
Despite intensive lobbying, Pakistan yet again remains in the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Islamabad failed to convince the global anti-money laundering watchdog that it has completely ended terror financing on its soil. The FATF has now asked Pakistan to work towards complete implementation till the next FATF plenary meet, which will be held between October 17-22.
According to the FATF, though Pakistan has completed all but 1 of 27 items, but in its Counter Terror Financing (CTF) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) effort, it has failed to adequately investigate and prosecute senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.
“The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining CFT (counter-terrorist financing)-related item by demonstrating that TF (terrorist financing) investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups,” the FATF said in an announcement.
”Pakistan has now completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan. The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining CFT-related item by demonstrating that TF investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups.”
The FATF announced its decision after concluding a session being held in Paris since June 21 virtually.
In June 2018, the global watchdog had placed Pakistan on its grey list over Islamabad’s failure to curb money laundering and terror financing. Since then, Pakistan has been struggling to get out of the list by working on the FATF action plan.
The reason Pakistan keeps entering the grey list is on account of its failure to shut all access to funding of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)-designated terrorist groups, including the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Its anti-terror law remains a sham and out of sync with standards set by the international body.
Pakistan was asked to investigate and prosecute leaders and commanders of all the eight terror groups that have been named by FATF in the past – the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. But so far, it has prosecuted senior leaders of the LeT and JuD, including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and several of his senior aides. Hafiz and his aides were sentenced to jail for 15 years but most of the time they are seen roaming freely.
No action is taken against Jaish chief Masood Azhar.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a day earlier, said there was no longer any justification to keep Pakistan on the grey list as the country had fulfilled 26 out of 27 action items of the FATF.
Qureshi had accused India of making attempts to misuse the forum for political purposes, saying New Delhi has indulged in continuous anti-Pakistan propaganda.
"Pakistan has taken concrete steps to curb money-laundering and terrorist financing," he said.