Isolated At Anti-Terror FATF Meet, Pak Close To "Dark Grey" List

Isolated At Anti-Terror FATF Meet, Pak Close To

Pakistan is on the verge of strong action by the worldwide terror financing watchdog FATF and the country may be put in the "Dark Grey" list, the last warning to improve.

The FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list, alongside Iran and North Korea.

The reports further said that support extended by Turkey, China and Malaysia resulted in the FATF deciding not to include Pakistan on its "black list".

Known to be the "last warning", the dark grey list as the term suggests is the final caution before a country is officially blacklisted. The report narrates actions against dysfunctional organisations and prosecution.

The 41-member Asia Pacific Group (APG), a regional affiliate of the FATF, downgraded Pakistan to the "Enhanced Follow-Up" category in its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) in August.

In the first review meeting on Monday, China, Turkey and Malaysia appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan on compliance with FATF guidelines on curbing money laundering and terrorism financing.

However, it must be mentioned that all eyes will be on Beijing's role at the FATF plenary meeting.

It is to be noted that the FATF has linked the blacklisting of Pakistan with unsatisfactory steps to curb money laundering and terror financing and it is expected that the global body would put Pakistan in the blacklist in February 2020 if it fails to take necessary measures.

The Paris-based body is reviewing the progress made by Pakistan until April this year, during the FATF Week, which began on 13 October and will conclude by 16 October.

Lately, the Director-General of Military Operations has been given the overall responsibility for the implementation of FATF recommendations while Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar is responsible for coordination from the civilian side.

It may be noted that, this year, Pakistan has made significant improvements in its systems to fight money laundering (ML) and terror financing (TF) as per worldwide standards.

At the meeting, India is learnt to have asked FATF members to blacklist Pakistan, citing the recent example that Islamabad has allowed the Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed to withdraw funds from his frozen accounts.

"The terror financing cases are identified by a number of mechanisms but not via financial intelligence", said the AGP report.

The country was placed on grey list past year after FATF decided that Islamabad had failed to take enough measures to curb money laundering and terror financing, and now India was lobbying to place it on FATF black list.

Kugelman added that until Pakistan severs all ties with terrorists and eliminates their financial networks, it will be hard for Islamabad to be cleared by the FATF.

On the level of effectiveness of Pakistan's AML/CFT, Pakistan was found moderately effective only on one benchmark while on the remaining nine its effectiveness was declared as low as of Oct 2018 cut-off date.

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