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Absolute possibility Pakistan could be blacklisted: FATF president Billingslea

File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 24, 2019, 04.54 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Financial Action Task Force(FATF) president Marshall Billingslea has said Pakistan has to do "significant work to meet the obligations they themselves undertook" as part of there high-level commitments and the country is "lacking in almost every respect of action plan."

Following its greylisting in 2018, Islamabad had made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to deal with “structural deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) or simply put-- acting on the financing of terror.

Speaking at the end of FATF plenary which took place in Orlando, Florida last week and whose audio was provided on Monday, Billingslea said, "There is absolutely a possibility that Pakistan could be put on the blacklist. That is a decision to be taken in future plenary because the period of the action plan has not yet expired, the action plan runs through September of this year."

The next plenary of FATF will be in Paris in October during which Pakistan will be assessed if it was able to full fill its commitments. Coming strongly on Pakistan, FATF president said, "Pakistan does not appreciate or chooses not to acknowledge the transnational and transborder terrorist financing risk they face."

Pakistan was slammed by the global anti-terror financing body during the Orlando meet last week after failing to meet its commitments twice - first in January 2019 and then May 2019. 

Billingslea explained, "Pakistan was cautioned in February at the plenary that they have missed almost all of the January milestones and they were urged not to fail milestones in May. Unfortunately, Pakistan yet again missed the May milestones."

Billingslea added, "The action plan is set to complete in September. So this was not the plenary we were to discuss blacklisting, this was the plenary how far or how far behind Pakistan is on its action plan, and I must say, they are far behind and there is much that must be done, by September."

If Islamabad fails to implement the action plan by September, then the FATF may consider next steps, which includes a possible blacklisting. FATF is a technical body, whose main aim is to protect the international financial system. The 30-year-old body works on the consensus of member countries. 

FATF added that it is ready to "provide advice" to International monetary fund(IMF) if requested by the multilateral Washington-based organisation. 

IMF is an observer organisation at the grouping and has a detailed understanding about the Pakistani action plan but its board has to decide on what conditionality they will like to apply.

The IMF fund had agreed on a $6bn bailout for Pakistan's beleaguered economy for three years but it has to be approved by the board of the organisation.

This is the thirteenth bailout the South Asian country has got since the 1980s. The last time the Pakistan government got a bailout from the IMF was in 2013.

Story highlights

Pakistan was slammed by the global anti-terror financing body during the Orlando meet last week after failing to meet its commitments twice - first in January 2019 and then May 2019.