At key FATF meet, Pakistan faces 125 daunting questions on terror
New Delhi, Sep 10: The crucial meeting of the FATF has begun. The Asia Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is meeting in Bangkok to assess the action taken by Pakistan on terror.
Pakistan is being represented by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar. The Pakistan delegation also comprises representatives of State Bank of Pakistan and Directors of SECP. The head of the Financial Intelligence Unit is representing New Delhi at the meet.
At the meeting, Pakistan would have to answer 125 questions on terror funding as well as money laundering. Further, a report would also have to be presented on the action taken on money laundering and terror financing.
At the last meeting, Pakistan had failed 32 of the 40 parameters. The Asia Pacific Group of the FATF decided to place Pakistan in the Enhanced Expedited Follow up list after the last meeting.
This was being seen as a big setback for Pakistan ahead of the crucial plenary of the FATF to be held in October. While, the situation for Pakistan remains grim as it has not done much to curb terror financing, going easy on Lashkar-e-Tayiba boss, Hafiz Saeed and now releasing Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar is not doing any good for the country.
Officials in Delhi tell OneIndia that Pakistan's actions have not been satisfactory. If it is unable to convince the FATF on the actions it has taken, then it could be downgraded to the blacklist during the plenary to be conducted next month. It is clear that there has not been any concrete action by Pakistan and it continues to rely heavily on the likes of Azhar and Saeed to further its propaganda, the official also added. I am not sure that the team would be able to impress upon the FATF about the action it has taken, the official also noted.
Pakistan has been closely monitored since it was moved to the Enhanced Expedited Follow up list. Following the two day meeting that was held in Canberra, Australia last month, it was stated that Pakistan had failed in 32 out of the 40 parameters.
During the plenary, it would be decided if Pakistan to be remain in the grey list or downgraded to the blacklist. If moved to the blacklist, Pakistan would be slapped with harsher financial sanctions.
In June, the joint group of the Asia Pacific Group in its assessment had found that Pakistan's compliance to act against 8 terror groups which include the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been unsatisfactory. The report urged Pakistan to do more against these groups before the FATF comes up with its final decision.
The report states that stringent action should be taken against groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, their financial entities, Haqqani Network, Al-Qaeda and Da'esh.
In order to move out of the grey list, Pakistan would need at least 15 of the 36 FATF's members' votes. It would also require a minimum of 3 votes to keep itself out of the black list.
In April the FATF had asked Pakistan to implement a new set of constraints in its crackdown against terror funding, including documenting and regulating all gold markets.
In the past few months, Pakistan claims to have taken some action. While India considers that the action is only token, Pakistan is doing all it can to avoid being downgraded to the blacklist.