The inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which looks at the effective implementation of regulations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing globally, has begun a crucial week-long meeting in Orlando in the United States to consider, among other things, Pakistan’s sincerity and action to curb terror financing.
The meeting, which began on Sunday, is expected to take a call on whether to keep Pakistan on the “grey” list or downgrade it to the “black” list.
Sources in New Delhi said India would continue to press for Pakistan’s downgrading at the FATF meeting, given Islamabad’s continued support to terrorists and their networks involved in terror activities in India.
The meeting in Orlando is taking place amid reports in a section of media that Pakistan had warned the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and the US a few days ago of a possible car bomb attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama region which was rocked by an audacious terror attack in February in which more than 40 CRPF personnel were killed. However, there has been no official confirmation of these reports either by India or Pakistan.
Pakistan has been on FATF’s grey list since last year. Last June, Islamabad had committed to working with the FATF to strengthen its anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing regimes. Pakistan and the FATF had then mutually agreed on a monitoring of indicators under a 10-point action plan with specific deadlines.
The plan included curbing finances of terror outfits such as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Falahi-Insaniyat, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban.
In February, the FATF had expressed dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s action saying: “Given the limited progress on action plan items due in January 2019, the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019.”
In a recent report, the Asia Pacific Group (APG) within the FATF that looked into Pakistan’s compliance said Islamabad was falling short. “We believe that Pakistan has not done all that it needs to do,” said a representative of an APG country. He acknowledged that Pakistan has taken some action but was not sure if these were lasting measures.
To move out of the “grey list”, Pakistan needs the support of at least 15 of FATF’s 36 voting members. To prevent a “blacklisting”, it needs three votes. If it remains in the “grey list”, Pakistan will find it difficult to source foreign investments at a time when it is grappling with the worst-ever economic crisis.