Pakistan remains on FATF's grey list

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Published: Jun 25, 2021, 05:25 PM(IST)

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )

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According to estimates by the Pakistan government, the grey listing at the FATF has caused damage of around $10 billion annually to the country.

Pakistan continues to remain on Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list as it is still to implement the terror funding watchdog's action plan.

The country has to work towards complete implementations till the next FATF plenary meet that will take place on October 17-22.

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It is now three years since Islamabad has been on the anti-terror financing body's grey list. For a country to be on the grey list is a signal that money in the country is being used for terror financing

This impacts foreign investment flow in the country impacting the economy. Pakistan was put on the FATF grey list in June 2018.

According to estimates by the Pakistan government, the grey listing at the FATF has caused damage of around $10 billion annually to the country.

Pakistan hosts one of the largest numbers of UN-listed international terrorists with Islamabad reaching out to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to get pensions for some. Being on the UN terror list involves assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Over the course of several months, Pakistan has approved a number of legislations on Counter Terror Financing (CTF) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) as part of its commitments to FATF.

An on-site visit by the FATF team will take place as part of the process to see Pakistan's action to combat the issue of terror financing.

Meanwhile, FATF has expressed concern over Pakistan's inaction against United Nations listed terror groups. The country has one of the largest numbers of UN listed terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba's Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed's Masood Azhar.

While the country has made "substantial progress" addressing 26 of the 27 items of the 2018 action plan, FATF president Dr Marcus Pleyer said, "investigations and prosecutions of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups".

In fact, Pakistan had approached United Nations Security Council for "basic expense" for 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, Lakshar-e-Taiba's leader Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi and Mahmood Sultan Bashiruddin, a Pakistani nuclear engineer - all three UN listed terrorist. 

The 1267 sanctions regime of UNSC includes three main areas - assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.

In response to WION's question, if FATF is hopeful that Pakistan will take action till the next plenary, Pleyer said, "It remains to be seen. Pakistan knows exactly what is expected from them. There is this remaining action item, that is concentrating on counter-terror financing"

"We will closely cooperate and observe the progress. Thankful for the commitment of the Pakistan government to do so. In four months' time we will look into the progress," Pleyer added.

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