Pakistan's fate hangs in the balance as FATF plenary kicks off today in Paris 

WION Web Team New Delhi Feb 16, 2020, 11.22 AM(IST)

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

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In its meeting late last year, the FATF had told Islamabad that it could face blacklisting if it continued to apply ''inadequate controls'' over terrorism financing.

Pakistan's fate hangs in balance as crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary begins in Paris later today. The plenary will decide whether Pakistan stays in or out of the 'Grey List'.

In its meeting late last year, the FATF had told Islamabad that it could face blacklisting if it continued to apply ''inadequate controls'' over terrorism financing.

FATF already has Pakistan on its 'Grey List' of countries with inadequate controls over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. 

Also read: Pakistan court convicts 26/11 mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, in terror financing case

The Pakistan government has informed the FATF that UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and his family are missing at the moment. Azhar founded the terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which was responsible for several gruesome attacks on Indian soil including the Pulwama attack last year.

Of 40 recommendations made by the watchdog, Pakistan had fully complied with only one, largely complied with nine, partially complied with 26, and missed four parameters, which were mandatory if Islamabad wanted to be removed from the 'Grey List', a review by the group last year said.

FATF also asked Pakistan to crack down on terror groups like Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which continue to raise funds openly in Pakistan.

Under pressure, Pakistan was forced to act. Just days ago, Pakistan, for the first time convicted, LeT founder and mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack Hafiz Saeed in 2 terror funding cases. 

The Indian government has already said, "The efficacy of this decision remains to be seen. It has to also be seen whether Pakistan would take action against other all terrorist entities and individuals operating from territories under its control".

Even the United States has asked Pakistan to hold Saeed responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed including 6 Americans.

However, Islamabad says it has seized the groups' assets and put the terrorists on trials, like the entire leadership of the (JuD), including its chief Saeed.

If Pakistan joined the blacklist alongside Iran and North Korea, Islamabad would face sanctions and economic setbacks at a time when its economy is struggling with a balance of payment crisis.