FATF keeps Pakistan on greylist, gives a four-month deadline
Pakistan has got yet another extension from the global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF). In its latest plenary meet, the Paris-based organization said Pakistan will continue to remain on the greylist, but underlined that the country has merely four months to fulfill its commitments. A downgrade to the blacklist would spell more trouble for Pakistan's struggling economy. Here's more.
A bit about FATF and its relationship with Pakistan
Formed in 1989, FATF's main goal is to combat money laundering and terror financing. Once a country is blacklisted, bodies like IMF and World Bank stop lending loans and it also finds difficulty in procuring investments. In June 2018, Pakistan surfaced on the greylist and it was handed over a 27-point action plan. Pakistan had got 15 months to act against terrorism.
Take convincing action, FATF told Pakistan
After thorough discussions, FATF concluded Pakistan failed to deliver on 13 of the 27 pointers. The country, governed by Imran Khan, was ordered to persecute and convict leaders of proscribed organizations like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Notably, just last week, a court in Lahore convicted Hafiz Saeed in two cases and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment.
In surprise development, China asked Pakistan to take concrete steps
One of the nations that supported Pakistan in FATF was Turkey, but most of the member countries weren't satisfied. Reportedly, Pakistan's all-weather ally, China, also gave it a stern message saying that it should take serious action against home-grown terrorism. Welcoming China's statement, Indian Army Chief MM Naravane said, "China has also realized that they cannot back their all-weather friend (Pakistan) all the time."
Pakistan faltered on 13 points, FATF gave importance to eight
FATF asked Pakistan to act urgently on eight pointers. The body ordered Pakistan to show that remedial sanctions have been applied in cases of terror-financing violations. Pakistan was also ordered to show that competent authorities are cooperating in identifying illegal money. It was asked to show "implementation of cross-border currency and Bearer-Negotiable Instruments controls at ports of entry including effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions".
UN-designated terrorists shouldn't be able to raise funds: FATF
Further, FATF told Pakistan to show that law enforcement agencies "identify, probe and prosecute the widest range of terror funding activity." Another pointer read, "Demonstrate that terror financing prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions." Pakistan was also asked to show that sanctions were implemented against UN-designated terrorists and they have been prevented from raising funds. Terror financing violations should invite criminal penalties, said FATF.
Khan clearly didn't deliver on his promise
The last pointer on which Pakistan has to act reads, "Demonstrate that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons are deprived of access and use of their resources." FATF's strong condemnation brings trouble for Khan, who promised his countrymen that Pakistan will be out of the greylist in February. It's left to be seen if June brings any good news or not.