Pakistan’s failure to meet the FATF’s top six obligations, including action against two of India’s most wanted terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, and the sudden disappearance of more than 4,000 terrorists from its official list are likely to lead to its continuation on the ‘gray list’ of the Global Supervisor of money laundering and terrorist financing, officials said on Sunday.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) virtual plenary, to be held October 21-23, will receive the final call on Pakistan’s continuation on its gray list following a thorough review of Islamabad’s performance in meeting commitments. and standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The FATF had given Pakistan a total of 27 action plan obligations to fully control terrorist financing, of which it has so far cleared 21 but failed in some of its key tasks, a development official said.
Mandates that Pakistan has failed to include actions against all UN-designated terrorists like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Azhar chief, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed and operational clothing commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
In addition, the FATF has strongly noted the fact that there has been a sudden disappearance of the names of more than 4,000 terrorists from its original list of 7,600 under Program IV of its Anti-Terrorism Act.
“In these circumstances, it is almost certain that Pakistan will continue on the FATF gray list,” the official said.
Also, the four nominating countries – the United States, Britain, France and Germany – are also dissatisfied with Islamabad’s commitment to take strong action against terrorist groups operating from its territory.
Azhar, Saeed and Lakhvi are the most wanted terrorists in India for their involvement in numerous terrorist acts, including the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks and the bombing of a CRPF bus in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir last year.
As Pakistan continues to be blacklisted, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Islamabad to receive financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, further exacerbating the country’s problems. neighbor which is in an unsafe financial situation.
The FATF will also adjudicate whether the competent authorities in Pakistan were cooperating and taking measures to identify and enforce illegal money transfer or value transfer services and had tried to implement cross-border currency and controls of the transferee’s negotiable instruments in it. all ports of entry, including the application of effective, proportionate and discouraging sanctions.
The country’s unpaid areas of action also include the effective enforcement of targeted financial sanctions (backed by a full legal obligation) against all 1,267 and 1,373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on behalf of them, including collection prevention and the movement of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable) and banning access to funds and financial services, another official said.
The FATF plenary session was scheduled for earlier in June, but Pakistan took a deep breath as the global financial crime watchdog temporarily postponed all reciprocal assessments and follow-up deadlines following major health risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The observer also set a general pause in the review process, thus giving Pakistan an additional four months to meet the requirements.
Pakistan needed 12 votes out of 39 to get off the gray list and move to the white list. To avoid the blacklist, it needs the support of three countries. China, Turkey and Malaysia are its constant supporters.
Currently, North Korea and Iran are on the FATF blacklist.
Pakistan was blacklisted by the FATF in June 2018 and given an action plan to complete it by October 2019. Since then, the country continues to be on that list due to its failure to meet FATF mandates.
The FATF is an intergovernmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other threats related to the integrity of the international financial system.
The FATF currently has 39 members, including two regional organizations – the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
India is a member of the FATF Consulting and its Asia-Pacific Group. PTI ACB RT RT
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