Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: Despite, Islamabad’s full diplomatic efforts and different strategic plans aimed to eliminate terror financing and terrorism, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Wednesday officially placed Pakistan again on its grey list after a plenary meeting in Paris. The financial watchdog, in its meeting, argued that Pakistan had failed to curb terror financing on its soil. Earlier, Pakistan was put on ‘grey list’ for three years between 2012- 2015.
Earlier in the day, caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar had urged the FATF to remove Pakistan from its grey list. As the FATF plenary began its proceedings, the Pakistani delegation apprised the watchdog of steps Islamabad had taken to weed out money laundering and terror financing. Lately, top military brass in its crucial meeting revised the action plan and amended it in a bid that FATF would accept it and would not put Pakistan on ‘grey list’ but all efforts and strategies went in vain. The highest level meeting was chaired by caretaker Prime Minister Justice (r) Nasir ul-Mulk and attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Force, Naval chiefs, DG-ISI, National Security Advisor and all Cabinet members.
It was earlier reported that Pakistan may get more time to take measures to implement the FATF’s anti-money laundering and terrorist-financing regulations. The Foreign Office (FO) had confirmed in February that Pakistan would be placed on FATF’s grey list in June if it did not take measures to curb terror financing. However, FO spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had assured that an action plan to eradicate terrorist financing was being prepared and would accordingly be shared with the international body.”Pakistan will be assigned to the ‘grey list ‘in June, once an action plan has been mutually negotiated,” the spokesman had said, adding that Pakistan will cooperate with FATF in every possible way.
A 37-nation FATF plenary held its first meeting on Pakistan in February where China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia opposed the United States-led move to place Pakistan on the watch list. But the US pushed for an unprecedented second discussion on Pakistan, held on February 22.
According to reports, by then Washington had convinced Riyadh to give up its support to Pakistan in return for a full FATF membership. This left only two – China and Turkey – in the Pakistan camp, one less than the required number of three members to stall a move. At this stage, the Chinese informed Islamabad that they were opting out as they did not want to “lose face by supporting a move that’s doomed to fail”, Dawn reported quoting an official source. “Pakistan appreciated the Chinese position and conveyed its gratitude According to details, Pakistan’s interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar presented a strong case in Paris where the Financial Action Task Force is meeting.
ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (r) Nasir-ul-Mulk chairing meeting of National Security Council on 8th June in which new action plan was approved to satisfy FATF to avoid ‘grey list’ but all efforts were futile on Wednesday and Pakistan was placed on ‘grey list’.
While pleading Pakistan’s case to remove its name from FATF grey list, the minister apprised the anti-terror financing body of measures that country has taken to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and to eliminate the terrorism from its soil. The US motion, to have Pakistan added to the “grey list” of countries was reportedly backed by Britain, France and Germany. Talking to media, Pakistan’s Interim Interior Minister Muhammad Azam said that the FATF is under immense pressure of US and India, adding that these countries also pressurized even China and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s closest allies, to withdraw their support.
As part of efforts to implement the FATF counter-terrorist financing operational plan adopted in February this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), on June 20, issued the ‘Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations 2018’. Last week, the interim finance minister said that the ministry has improved institutional mechanisms for handling antimony laundering and countering financing terrorism issues. Coordination between the State Bank, Banking institutions and law enforcement agencies has also been strengthened to curb money laundering and terror financing, she added.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. Pakistan was previously on the grey list from 2012 to 2015.