ISLAMABAD:- (out reporter):- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday unanimously decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list for further four months for not meeting some strategically important conditions given by the organization in June 2018.
The FATF, the global body working to combat financing of terrorism and money laundering.
The FATF President Marcus Pleyer announced the decision at the conclusion of the watchdog’s three-day plenary meeting.
He said that Pakistan had to complete two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 items and it has now addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items.
Pleyer added that of the 27 action points agreed under the June 2018 plan, 26 had been implemented — a position that remained unchanged since then.
Overall, Pakistan is making “good progress” on the June 2021 new action plan.
“Four out of the seven action plan items are now addressed or largely addressed.”
“Pakistan should continue to work to address its other strategically important AML/CFT [anti-money laundering and terrorist financing] deficiencies, namely by providing evidence that it actively seeks to enhance the impact of sanctions beyond its jurisdiction by nominating additional individuals and entities for designation at the UN”, ie said.
It added that Islamabad should demonstrate an increase in money laundering investigations and prosecutions and that proceeds of crime continue to be restrained and confiscated in line with the country’s risk profile, including working with foreign counterparts to trace, freeze, and confiscate assets.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list with effect from June 2018 and was asked to implement a 27-point action plan to exit it.
To a question about an Indian minister’s claim that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-government had ensured that Pakistan remained on the grey list, Pleyer said the FATF was a technical body and it made decisions by consensus.
“The decision to retain Pakistan under increased monitoring is also taken with consensus.”
To another question, Pleyer said there was no discussion to blacklist Pakistan, as the government was cooperating with the FATF and had already completed 30 of the 34 action points.
The FATF stated that since June 2018 when Pakistan made a political commitment to work with the global body and the APG [Asia/Pacific Group] to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, the country had made “significant progress” across a comprehensive action plan.
“While Pakistan has reported some steps, the FATF encourages [it] to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining CFT-related item by continuing to demonstrate that TF [terror financing] investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups.”
In response to additional deficiencies later identified in Pakistan’s 2019 APG Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), in June 2021, Pakistan provided further high-level commitment to address these strategic deficiencies pursuant to a new action plan that primarily focuses on combating money laundering, it added.
The global watchdog said since June 2021, Pakistan had taken swift steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including by enacting legislative amendments to enhance its international cooperation framework; demonstrating DNFBP [designated non-financial businesses and professions] monitoring for PF-TFS [terrorist financing and financing of proliferation] and supervision commensurate with the risks; and applying sanctions for noncompliance with beneficial ownership requirements.
Western nations and India have long been pressuring Pakistan through the FATF forum to target eight groups — the Afghan Taliban, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, al-Qaeda and Islamic State.