India on Thursday pushed for Pakistan to remain on Paris-based global watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Grey List saying Islamabad had addressed only 21 of the 27 action items on terror financing and money laundering issued to it by the agency.
Pakistan’s spot on the list and its progress with respect to the action items is being reviewed at a plenary session of the FATF, which began on October 21 and is scheduled to end on October 23.
Responding to questions, Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday, “FATF has well laid out standards and procedures for putting a country in its Black List and Grey List. After a country is put on a list, an action plan is given to it and the country concerned is expected to fully complete the action plan within the stipulated time. Those found wanting in implementing their obligations are held accountable and subjected to appropriate action.”
“It is understood that Pakistan has addressed only 21 action items so far out of the total 27 point FATF Action Plan. Six important action items are yet to be addressed. As is well known, Pakistan continues to provide safe havens to terrorist entities and individuals and has also not yet taken any action against several terrorist entities and individuals including those proscribed by the UNSC such as Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim, Zakir-ur-Rahman Lakhvi,” Srivastava added.
Spot on list means more pressure
Pakistan has been under the FATF’s scrutiny for the last two years. With half a dozen commitments left unfulfilled under the agency's action plan, it would hope to get out of the list soon. Delhi, however, would want Islamabad to stay on the Grey List — that would pressure on Pakistan to take more action against terror groups.
India’s assessment is that Pakistan may remain on the grey list as it has been unable to comply with six of the 27 points in the action plan.
The FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and issued the action plan.
Recently, the agency’s International Cooperation Review Group acknowledged that Pakistan had complied with 21 points on the plan.
In February this year, FATF gave Pakistan a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point action plan. The deadline was June, but the agency extended it again due to the postponement of its plenary because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In August, seeking to wriggle out of the grey list, Pakistan imposed financial sanctions on 88 banned terror groups and their leaders, including 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. It won a three-month extension to complete all 27 items because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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