Pakistan is set to face strong action the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF), the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering, with a formal announcement expected to be made later on Friday.
Pakistan is most likely to be placed in the “Dark Grey” list, the last warning to improve.
‘Dark Grey’ means the issuance of a strong warning so that the country concerned gets one last chance to improve.
During its crucial plenary meeting in Paris, the FATF decided to put Pakistan on its “grey list” till next February and directed Islamabad to take “extra measures” for “complete” elimination of terror financing and money laundering.
The strong action against Islamabad is because of its inadequate performance, whereby it managed to pass in only six of 27 items.
A FATF meeting in Paris on Tuesday reviewed the measures that Islamabad has already taken to control money laundering and terror financing. However, the meeting observed that Islamabad will have to take further steps in these four months.
The FATF has linked the blacklisting of Pakistan with unsatisfactory steps to curb money laundering and terror financing. The FATF will take a final decision on the matter in February 2020.
Meanwhile, India has recommended its blacklisting on the plea that Islamabad has allowed Hafiz Saeed to withdraw funds from his frozen accounts.
However, Pakistan’s close friends China, Turkey and Malaysia bought the country four months time from the global terror watchdog to eliminate terror financing and money laundering.
Already in the grey list, Pakistan was set to have been downgraded to black for having failed in its compliance of the measures to tackle terror financing and money laundering but was bailed out by its friends, and its strong lobbying with the US.
Based on the outright support extended by China, which currently heads the body and Turkey and Malaysia, the FATF decided not to include Pakistan on the blacklist and give it more time to implement the remaining measures.
According to reports, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Saudi Arabia too supported Pakistan at the FATF meeting.
At the FATF meeting, it requires a minimum of three votes to prevent blacklisting.
The Asia-Pacific Group of the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering, FATF, in a report ahead of the meeting, had said that Pakistan has been quietly unfreezing their accounts and not providing any information about what it is doing to ensure that the money does not go back into terrorist funding.
The APG report stated that Pakistan “has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and other terrorists associated with LeT, JuD among other terror groups”.
“Pakistan did not take any actions to freeze the accounts of proscribed organisations during the period under review, with the exception of assets frozen for proscribed organisations that are also listed under UNSC Resolution 1267,” the report said.
The FATF had in August put Pakistan in the “enhanced expedited follow-up list” (blacklist) for its failure to meet its standards and had warned the country of action if does not improve its counter-terror financing operations in line with an internationally agreed action plan by October.
The FATF last year placed Pakistan on the grey list of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terror financing.