New Delhi: Pakistan didn’t meet all the action points laid out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but avoided getting blacklisted yet again. However, the Paris-based terror financing watchdog kept the country in its ‘grey list’ at its plenary that concluded Friday.
The plenary, FATF’s highest decision-making body, will next meet in February 2021 and has given Pakistan time until then to meet all the 27 parameters, especially those that pertain to imposing sanctions on terrorist outfits.
“Pakistan has made progress… It has largely completed 21 items of the 27; it definitely means that the world has become safer, but the six outstanding items mean the risks have not gone. The Pakistan government must do its best to repair and work on these outstanding six items,” Marcus Pleyer, the FATF president, said in a virtual press conference.
How Pakistan can come off grey list
Pleyer said if Pakistan is able to act on the six outstanding points and complete all 27 by the next plenary, then an on-site visit will be undertaken to verify them.
If the member countries are satisfied, then there are chances that by the following plenary, which takes place in June 2021, Pakistan will be able to come off the grey list. The FATF’s plenary year begins in July and ends in June.
However, Pleyer also there is a parallel process going on under the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which will decide on Pakistan’s performance on terror financing.
“This is the norm with every country. There is no discrimination … We must treat Pakistan equally with other countries,” he said.
“As long as we see that the country is progressing with action items, and we have seen progress with Pakistan, we give them a chance to repair the outstanding issues. But we don’t do this forever,” Pleyer warned.
The FATF president also said countries are “pushed to the black list” if they fail to meet all the parameters, and no country is allowed to stay in the grey list permanently.
Currently, Iran and North Korea are on the FATF black list.
Outstanding action points
The six outstanding action points that Pakistan has to meet mostly pertain to terror financing investigations, demonstrating terror financing prosecutions, effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against United Nations-designated terrorists, and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases.
Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list since the June 2018 plenary. India has provided evidence to the FATF, demonstrating the country’s role in financing terror.
India Thursday had stated that Pakistan has failed to take action against UN-proscribed terrorists such as Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
In August this year, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government had issued two notifications, giving details of the present status of 88 terrorists and their entities, including Dawood, Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, and Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar, to the UN.
It also gave details about the Taliban, the Islamic State and al Qaeda, which are already proscribed in the UN Security Council’s sanctions list.
However, Pakistan later denied the presence of Dawood Ibrahim on its soil, and called the notifications a routine exercise.