New Delhi: With just two days left for the final assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary, it seems clear now that Pakistan will continue to remain on the grey list of the global terror financing watchdog. Islamabad has been trying hard to exit the grey list, failing which it runs the risk of getting automatically blacklisted, ThePrint has learnt.
According to FATF norms, if a country fails to meet its parameters within a prescribed time-frame, it automatically gets blacklisted.
“Pakistan is trying to get out of the grey list. They have mounted a diplomatic offensive. So far, there are not many takers and therefore they will remain under scrutiny. FATF will take a decision (on Friday) based on the progress made by Pakistan on well-defined parameters,” a top Indian official told ThePrint.
The plenary meet of the FATF began on 16 February and it will announce its final assessment on 21 February.
During the FATF’s last plenary meet in October, the Paris-based body had issued a stern warning to Pakistan to meet all the parameters. The plenary is the FATF’s highest decision-making body.
The next FATF plenary meet is scheduled in June.
‘More or less decided’ that Pakistan won’t be blacklisted
According to FATF norms, Islamabad has to completely overhaul its financial network systems to strengthen its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime, or AML/CFT, regime. In other words, it was asked to crack down on terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jamat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba, among others.
According to another Indian official ThePrint spoke to, India has already provided adequate proof to the FATF that Islamabad continues to extend financial support to these terror outfits and that it should be blacklisted.
But it was saved at the last moment by China, Malaysia and Turkey, according to the official, who didn’t want to be identified.
The fact that Pakistan will not be blacklisted was “more or less decided” by the FATF after a report by the International Cooperation Review Group, a sub-group of the FATF, recommended against it Monday.
In January, the Asia Pacific Group, another sub-group of the FATF, had recommended giving Pakistan additional time to implement measures to control terror funding, sources said.
Blacklisting will be a big blow to Pakistan
According to the FATF norms, Pakistan has to meet 13 of the 27 parameters laid down by the watchdog to come out of the grey list. It would also need 12 votes from the 39-member groups to exit the grey list, which it has not been able to get as of now.
Blacklisting by the FATF will have serious repercussions on Pakistan’s economy.
If blacklisted, global financial institutions will not be able to lend money to Islamabad. In December 2019, the IMF had said such a move will have implications for capital inflows to Pakistan.
Last year, the IMF had approved $6 billion loan to Pakistan on tough conditions.