FATF: Pak stares at being blacklisted due to unsatisfactory action on terror
New Delhi, June 10: Will Pakistan be able to prevent itself from being blacklisted. There is a crucial hearing of the Financial Action Task Force later this month and it would be critical for the future of Pakistan.
The FATF which monitors terror funding is set to meet at Orlando on June 20 and 21. During the meeting it would track the progress by Pakistan on a 27 point action plan. A final decision on whether Pakistan would placed on the grey list or downgraded to the black list would be taken in October when the FATF meets for its plenary in Paris.
Meanwhile the joint group of the Asia Pacific Group in its assessment has 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 urges 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 appears 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 black list.
One key development in recent times is the UN listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar. The first action by Pakistan was to put his brother Rauf Asghar in charge of operations. However with the heat stepping up, Pakistan claimed that Asghar had been placed under arrest.
With the hearing coming up on June 20, Pakistan wants to impress the watchdog that it has taken action. Back in Pakistan, it has advised its proxies in the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba to lie low. Asghar who was arrested after the Pulwama attack has been set free, but advised to lie low. Pakistan has also for now slowed down on doling out funds to its terrorists to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
The FATF on the other hand had asked Islamabad to collect data of all gold markets and restrict the sale and purchase of gold items using cash. The watchdog has also demanded that the country ensure restriction on supply of gold and jewelry to banned outfits and terrorist organisations.
The FATF has urged Pakistan to collect data of all trusts operating across the country as well as their bank accounts on the district level. It has also asked the country to ensure regulation of thousands of registered trust organisations.
Sources tell OneIndia that Pakistan is most likely to be placed under the grey list. Pakistan was on the FATF watch list from 2012 to 2015, then only on issues of money laundering.
Pakistan is under immense pressure both from the US, UK, France and India to act against terror and its funders. The US says Pakistan is not taking action against terror groups like the Haqqani network and the Taliban. Islamabad had denied those allegations.
Pakistan being added to the "list of countries deemed 'high risk' for doing too little to curb terror financing," would have a financial implication for the country. As a result of this inclusion, banks, other lenders and international companies seeking to do business with Pakistan could rethink financial ties, putting a damper on its already struggling economy.