Act or get ready for the black list, FATF’s stern warning to Pakistan on terror funding
New Delhi, Feb 22: The Financial Action Task Force on Friday warned Pakistan that it would be downgraded to the black list and face greater scrutiny if fails to implement an action plan to counter terror financing and money laundering.
All deadlines for the 27 point action plan had expired, the FATF said while expressing concerns at Pakistan's failure to implement the plan according to the agreed timelines.
"All deadlines in the action plan have expired. While noting recent and notable improvements, the FATF again expresses concerns given Pakistan's failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the [terror financing] risks emanating from the jurisdiction," the FATF said in a statement.
"The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020.
Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress especially in prosecuting and penalising [terror financing] not be made by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdiction to advise their [financial institutions] to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan," the statement further read.
Meanwhile Pakistan will stay in the grey list until June 2020. This was decided at the plenary of the FATF, which concluded on Thursday at Paris. Pakistan was told that it could end up in the black list if it failed to complete its 27 point action.
On Wednesday China joined India and the US to send a strong message to Pakistan to act on terror funding. Saudi Arabia too has joined the above mentioned countries and has told Pakistan to complete its commitments on action against terror funding and money laundering given by the Financial Action Task Force.
Sources tell OneIndia that only Turkey held out in the end. This is an important development as China too has spoken out against Pakistan. This development clearly means that Pakistan would remain on the grey list of the FATF.
This comes in the back drop of the global terror financing watchdog asking Pakistan to further tighten its laws to bring individuals involved in money laundering and terror financing to task, media reports said on Tuesday.
The International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG), a sub-group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), evaluated the performance of Pakistan during its ongoing meeting in Paris which would continue until February 21.
"The FATF has expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by Pakistan to curb terror financing and demanded that the country further tightens its laws to bring individuals involved in money laundering and terror financing to task," The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Citing the recent conviction of Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistani officials said that the judicial system in the country was fully independent and the courts were taking decisions on merit, which were being implemented.
The Paris-based FATF observed substantial progress made by Pakistan in the implementation of 14 of the 27 recommendations about the country's anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) mechanism, Dunya News TV reported.
"Pakistan has adopted an effective strategy in the financial sector to curb terror financing and enhanced cooperation between institutions to combat transfer of funds to terrorists," it reported.
The meetings of Paris-based FATF began on Monday but the plenary session, which will decide whether to keep Pakistan on the grey list, begins on Wednesday.
Pakistan was placed on the 'grey list' by the FATF in June, 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October, 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the 'black list' along with Iran and North Korea.
Pakistan needs 12 votes out of 39 to exit the 'grey list' and move to 'white list'. To avoid 'black list', it needs support of three countries. In the last month's FATF meeting in Beijing, Pakistan got support of Malaysia and Turkey besides FATF current chair China.
Local media suggested that FATF will make the final decision about Pakistan on Friday but it is likely to retain it on the current grey list.
In the previous FATF review held in October, it was found that while Pakistan has made significant improvements, but it will have to take "extra measures" for "complete" elimination of terror financing and money laundering.