The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday warned Pakistan of strong action if it fails to take measures on terror financing and money laundering by February 2020.
Strongly urging Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by the next Plenary in February 2020, the global watchdog for terror financing asserted that in an otherwise situation, it would take action including urging members to advise their financial institutions to give special attention to business relations/transactions with Islamabad.
With this, Pakistan continues to remain in the “Grey List”, with a warning to improve.
According to sources quoted by news agency ANI, in light of Pakistan’s poor performance on its Mutual Evaluation, chances of Islamabad exiting the FATF’s ‘Grey List’ in the next few years have now been reduced to nil. The possibility of a formal ‘Black Listing’ in February 2020 is now highly probable.
By making the decision public, the FATF has given notice to global financial institutions that they need to prepare to red flag the jurisdiction and ready their systems for the eventuality in February 2020.
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.
India had 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.
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”.
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.