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Pakistan continue to be ‘grey listed’ by Global watchdogs

Pakistan remains on the ‘grey list’ of global anti-terrorism watchdog Financial Action Task Force for not meeting its 27-point-action plan to combat terrorism to its fullest extent. By increasing monitoring, the FATF means that jurisdiction has committed to resolving strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring. This list is often referred to as the ‘grey list’. The decision was taken during the watchdog’s virtual plenary meeting.

The Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, said that Pakistan had completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan, except for the one on targeting leaders and commanders of United Nations-designated terrorist groups. ‘The FATF boosts Pakistan to continue to make advancement to address as soon as possible the one outlasting CFT-related [counter-terrorist financing] item by displaying that TF [terrorist financing] investigations and prosecutions aim senior leaders and commanders of UN [United Nations] designated terrorist groups,’ it said.

According to experts, Pakistan’s omission of prosecuting the commanders and leaders of eight UN-designated terrorist groups pointed out by the FATF was significant. These terrorist groups include the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

According to the newspaper, Pakistan has sentenced only Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and his close aides. Saeed, who is also the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and his two close aides – Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Mujahid – were sentenced to 10 and a half years each. There has been no action taken against other leaders, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. According to New Delhi, Pakistan continues to shelter Azhar, who is wanted in India for the Pulwama terror attack, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and several other incidents.

FATF noted that Pakistan has also made progress to address strategic deficiencies in its new action plan that focuses on combating money laundering. Nevertheless, the report suggested that the country should focus on certain areas, including:

  • Encouraging international cooperation by amending its money laundering laws
  • Implementing U.N. Security Council resolution 1373 pertaining to counterterrorism,
  • Establishing that supervisors are monitoring the sites for specific risks associated with designated ‘non-financial business and professions’, including applying appropriate sanctions. Money laundering and terrorist financing are potential risks for these businesses and professions.
  • The application of proportionate and dissuasive sanctions consistently to all legal persons and legal arrangements for non-compliance with beneficial ownership requirements
  • Supporting a real-time monitoring system in order to ensure that proceeds of crime are restrained and confiscated in the framework of Pakistani law.
  • Showing that ‘Non-Financial Business and Professions’ are monitored for compliance with financing requirements and sanctions are imposed for non-compliance.

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As noted by FATF, Pakistan has made progress with its two remaining action items on showing that effective sanctions are applied to convictions for terrorist financing, and that the financial sanctions are being used effectively against terrorism. Until June, the anti-terrorism watchdog had kept Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ for failing to meet these three requirements, including the current item. Pakistan has repeatedly been requested by India, a member of the FATF, to follow international standards to prevent financial crimes.



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