Warning Pakistan of stern action, global terror financing watchdog FATF on Friday (February 21) decided continuation of Pakistan in the Grey List and said stern action will be taken if it fails to check flow of money to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), sources said.
The decision to keep Pakistan in the Grey List was taken at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary in Paris. The FATF has also warned Pakistan if it does not complete a full action plan by June, it could lead to consequences on its businesses, a source said.
A decision to this effect is likely to be taken by the anti-money laundering watchdog after the conclusion of the February 16-21 group meetings and plenary in Paris. The Pakistani delegation to the meetings was led by Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar.
The plenary noted that Pakistan addressed only a few of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Hizbul Mujahideen, which are responsible for a series of attacks in India. The FATF said Pakistan has to swiftly complete its full action plan by June, the source said.
The FATF in October decided to keep Pakistan on its Grey List for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and others. If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.
According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, the international terror financing watchdog was set to give Pakistan time till June 2020 to achieve full compliance with its 27-point action plan and secure exit from the FATF Grey List.
Sources from Paris said that Pakistan was found fully or close to fully compliant on more than half of the 27 targets. “We are satisfied with the progress so far. There was no case at all for blacklisting us,” a Pakistani source was quoted as saying in the report.
Pakistan is already finalising major amendments to at least a dozen of its laws to meet the FATF requirements by June this year and sentenced Mumbai attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to 11 years in two cases of terror financing on February 12.
Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was arrested on July 17 in the terror financing cases. The 70-year-old fiery cleric is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail here.
Based on these steps, the countrys performance would be judged in the next FATF plenary in October 2020, the report said.
Pakistan submitted a 650-page review report to the FATF on January 8. The report was submitted in response to 150 questions raised by the FATF regarding new Pakistani policies on money laundering. The report outlined the steps taken by Pakistan between October 2019 to January 2020 to implement the groups recommendations.
In January, Pakistan urged the US to support its bid to exit from FATFs grey list ahead of a key meeting of the international terror financing watchdog in Beijing in which Islamabads efforts to adopt stricter laws against terror financing and money laundering were scrutinised.