New Delhi: Pakistan was unable to come out of the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the Paris-based global body against money laundering and terror financing said Thursday there are still “serious deficiencies” on the part of the country in checking terror financing.
The global watchdog gave Pakistan time till June 2021 to meet all the parameters on issues related to terror financing.
In a strong message, the FATF said in its statement after its meeting that Pakistan needs to address some of the concerns by “demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1267 and 1373 UN-designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf”.
The 1267 and 1373 UN-designated terrorists refer to terrorists belonging to outfits such as Taliban, Al-Qaida and ISIL among others.
“Pakistan has to make significant progress in its effort to improve its anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing framework … Some serious deficiencies remain. All of these deficiencies are in areas related to terrorist financing. Out of 27 items on its action plan, three needs to be fully addressed … I strongly urge completion of the action plan,” FATF president Marcus Pleyer said at a virtual press conference.
Out of the 27 parameters set by FATF, Pakistan has been able to meet 24.
Pleyer, however, told ThePrint that Pakistan has “committed to a high-level political commitment”, adding that it’s “not the time” to put the country into its blacklist.
Chances of blacklist grow slimmer
Islamabad’s chances of slipping into the FATF blacklist have now become much slimmer since the FATF believes the country has made “significant progress” on the entire action plan that consists of 27 parameters.
“Pakistan has committed to a high-level political commitment… They have shown progress. That’s not the time to put a country into the blacklist. So, as soon as they have completed the action plan then as I said we verify the implementation and assess the sustainability of the reforms and then the members will decide on the next steps in the June plenary,” Pleyer told ThePrint.
Pakistan this time was hoping to come out of the grey list, also referred to as ‘Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring’, due to some of the actions it has taken on checking terrorist activities in its country. It has been on the grey list since June 2018.
The FATF Plenary, which is its highest decision-making body, will be discussing Pakistan’s performance in the next plenary in June this year.
“Pakistan has to focus on what they do at home with implementing targeted financial sanctions with penalties by courts that must be effective … That is what matters to us and these are outstanding and that is where I urge the government of Pakistan to address these issues,” Pleyer said.
The FATF president also said while it does not assess any particular incident taking place in a country to evaluate its performance but they do “underscore the credibility of the situation and the need to have a strong system in place”.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Omar Sheikh, the prime accused in the 2002 beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl upsetting the US. Besides, bilateral ties are also at an all-time low between Pakistan and France.