FATF gives Pakistan four months to avoid black list

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Absence of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bangladesh considered as diplomatic set-back for Islamabad

PARIS: The global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has retained Pakistan on the grey list and asked it to take action on six points relating to terror financing. Pakistan has been given four months’ time (21st February 2021) to avoid being black listed.

The meeting has been considered as diplomatic failure for Pakistan as its closest friend Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bangladesh decided to be absent in voting rather supporting their ally. But China, Turkey, Malaysia and Australia supported Islamabad whereas India, Afghanistan and Thailand voted against.

A virtual FATF plenary meeting asked Pakistan to make progress on all 27 obligations related to money laundering and terror financing by June which will be followed by an on-site visit by its inspectors. India wanted Pakistan to be pushed onto the blacklist for persistent delinquent behaviour. Turkey was pressing for Pakistan’s progress on the remaining points to be considered proof of good intention and wanted the FATF to close the matter with an on-site inspection.

Pakistani diplomats said they would now make another attempt to get out of the grey list at the next FATF meeting in June next year.

The deadline for Pakistan to complete its FATF file was June this year, but it earned a reprieve after the plenary was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had on Thursday said Pakistan had addressed 21 of the total 27 action items. “As is well known, Pakistan continues to provide safe haven to terrorist entities and individuals. It has also not yet taken any action against those individuals proscribed by the UN Security Council such as Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, etc.,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.

Pakistan has been under pressure from the international community for over two years to implement a plan to curb money laundering and terror financing.