Pakistan will continue to be subject to ‘enhanced surveillance,’ or the FATF’s ‘grey list,’ for failing to meet one crucial criterion for combating terrorism in the country is pledged to.
Delhi, New Delhi: Pakistan will remain on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘grey list’ because it needs to “further demonstrate” that action is being taken against UN-designated terrorists such as India’s most wanted men, Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, and groups led by them, the global anti-terror financing body said on Thursday.
FATF President Marcus Pleyer stated that the decision was made after the organization’s three-day virtual plenary. It is scheduled to reconvene in April 2022.
Pakistan is still on the “enhanced surveillance list,” Marcus stated during a virtual press conference from Paris.
The ‘grey list’ is also known as the “increased surveillance list.”
Pakistan has taken several critical measures, but Marcus believes it has to “further show that investigations and prosecutions are being pursued against the senior leadership of UN-designated terror organizations.”
“All of these reforms are aimed at assisting authorities in preventing terrorism, combating corruption, and preventing organized crime from benefiting from their crimes,” he continued.
The FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 for failing to combat money laundering, which led to terrorist financing.
Islamabad was handed a 27-point action plan by the FATF, which will be completed by October 2019. Six additional points were eventually added.
On Thursday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog on terror financing, kept Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ of nations.
Pleyer stated that Pakistan is cooperating and that just four action items remain unfinished. He also said that there was no intention of denying listing Pakistan for the time being.
In June of this year, the FATF kept Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ for failing to combat money laundering, which leads to terrorist financing. The FATF requested that Islamabad investigate and punish UN-designated terrorists, including Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar.
It also requested Pakistan to focus on addressing its strategic weaknesses.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has kept Pakistan on its grey list while adding its partner Turkey to the list, inflicting a double blow on Islamabad, which previously relied on Ankara’s help to avoid including the denylist.
Jordan and Mali have been included on the grey list as well.
“We expect Pakistan to demonstrate that terrorist funding investigators are targeting UN-proscribed top officials and commanders in the action plan beginning in 2019,” Pleyer added. “Pakistan has accomplished 30 of the 34 action points.
This demonstrates the Pakistani government’s unequivocal commitment. As a result, there was no talk of blacklisting. The government is working with FATF, and we have asked it to resolve the other four concerns as soon as possible “Pleyer stated.
Pleyer disputed that Indian pressure was a factor in Pakistan’s continued inclusion on the grey list. “The FATF is a technical organisation, and we make decisions by agreement.”
When questioned if India played a part in maintaining Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018, Pleyer stated, “It is not one nation, but 39 jurisdictions, and the decision is reached by agreement for a jurisdiction to be put under greater scrutiny.”
Since June, FATF had focused on Pakistan’s money laundering weaknesses when the Asia Pacific organisation discovered several severe irregularities. Delegates from the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, among others, attended the plenary. China, Turkey, and Malaysia have been assisting Pakistan in avoiding delisting.
The placement of Pakistan on the grey list has harmed the country’s chances of receiving financial support from international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Asia Development Bank.
Turkey was placed on notice by the FATF two years ago. Although Turkey was aware of “the dangers it confronts from money laundering and terrorism funding,” the FATF found “severe deficiencies.” It also voiced worry about the existing state of money laundering and terrorism funding.
WHY IS PAKISTAN STILL ON FATF GREY LIST?
The critical grounds for Pakistan’s continued inclusion on the FATF grey list include a lack of prosecution and action against UN-designated terrorists.
“Pakistan’s ongoing political commitment has resulted in substantial progress on a comprehensive action plan. The FATF acknowledges Pakistan’s progress and efforts in addressing these action plan items “The FATF stated in June.
The global terror-funding watchdog said it “encourages Pakistan” to continue making progress toward addressing the one remaining CFT-related item as soon as possible by demonstrating that terror-finding investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.