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Pakistan May Enter FATF ‘blacklist’ Over Failure To Curb Anti-terror Funding: Report

Source : Republic

Pakistan May Enter FATF ‘blacklist’ Over Failure To Curb Anti-terror Funding: Report
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Amounting to levelling down, analysts, based in Paris, have revealed that Pakistan is likely to be categorised in the ‘black list’ of the France-based FATF (Financial Action Task Force). Ahead of the FATF Plenary and Working Group Meetings in Paris, experts have reasoned why Pakistan will slip into the aforesaid list of the global anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering watchdog owing to non-compliance. The said meeting is reportedly commencing on February 21 until March 4, 2022. 

It may be recalled that the Imran Khan-led country has been on the FATF’s ‘grey list’ since June 2018 and the same had adversely impacted Pakistan’s economy and stature in the global arena. The grey listed countries are perceived as safe haven for nefarious deeds and aiding terror funding or money laundering. However, nothing appears to have an effect on the neighbouring state in terms of terrorism and failure to combat the issue.

FATF’s greylisted Pakistan likely to enter ‘black list’

Owing to deficiencies in counter-terror funding and anti-money laundering policies, Pakistan may enter the blacklist despite being warned against the same since 2018. The country’s inclusion in the grey list is dependent on its anti-terror laws and if they align with FATF standards, the UN resolution 2462 provide for the criminalisation of terror funding. While experts say that Islamabad has failed to take measures against terror groups, the Indian Ambassador to the UN Tirumurti last month said that Pakistan provides ‘5-star treatment’ to terrorists and persons who have a bounty on themselves and are United Nations-designated terrorists. 

On the other hand, Pakistan seems to have concluded that the mere conviction of Hafiz Saeed in terror financing cases, amongst a battery of charges against him and USD 10 million in bounty, will help the country evade FATF’s grey list. Notably, Saeed has not been tried for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks while another conspirator Masood Azhar, who is responsible for the 2001 Parliament attacks, continues to roam on Pakistani streets freely. Both offenders were only briefly detained while indicating to the world that they are improvising on the action plan while FATF requires freezing of funds, denial of weapons access and travel ban.

While greylisting should have alarmed the neighbouring state, PM Khan appears to be complacent about this category. Furthermore, capitulating before Islamist outfits like Tehreel-e-Taliban Pakistan has not ended well for Pakistan, as per experts’ reports. 

As per Global Strat View, there exist signals that Pakistan continues to be placed in the ‘grey list’ while stating, “Islamabad government has decided to start the Afghanistan Relief Fund to collect funds from the world, primarily from Muslim countries. However, the decision was criticised in Pakistan as financing the new Taliban regime would not go well with the western bloc and may result in sanctions from the FATF.”

In October 2020, FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had told ANI, “Pakistan government has two concurrent action plans, with a total of 34 action plan items. It has now addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items,” while adding that ‘investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commander of UN-designated terror groups.”

Countries in the grey list may draw sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB, might face issues in securing loans from these international organs. A reduction in foreign trade or international boycott may also be recorded.

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