India on Saturday emphasised that Pakistan needs to take all necessary steps to fully implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan by the October deadline. Pakistan, however, claimed that India was politicising the process for its “narrow” objectives. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement that India expects Pakistan to take credible and verifiable steps against terrorism and terrorist finances.
He also mentioned that the FATF will continue to keep Pakistan on its compliance document for the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) monitoring. “The FATF has decided to continue to keep Pakistan on its compliance document (i.e. Grey List) for the ICRG monitoring for its failure to complete the action plan items due in January and May 2019,” the MEA said.
India said it expects “Pakistan to take all necessary steps to effectively implement the FATF Action Plan fully within the remaining time frame”, which is September, “in accordance with its political commitment to the FATF and take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures to address global concerns related to terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from any territory under its control”.
The FATF is learnt to have warned Pakistan to get its act together on terror funding before the October deadline during the ongoing Plenary Meeting in Florida, US, sources said Friday.
Accusing India of “politicising” the deliberations at the FATF meeting for its “narrow and partisan” objectives, Pakistan said in a statement on Saturday: “We regard the statement issued by India regarding the FATF report as preposterous and unwarranted.” The Pakistan Foreign Office said that “if anything, this is yet another evidence of India’s relentless efforts to politicise the deliberations of FATF for its narrow, partisan objectives”. It also said that it hoped the “broader FATF membership would take cognizance of this continuing malicious campaign and reject any attempt aimed at politicisation of the FATF process by India.”
Pakistan has been lobbying to get its name out of the Grey List, which has put tremendous financial pressure on the nation. India, on the other hand, has been trying to push the body to put Pakistan on the FATF Black List for its failure to contain terrorism against India, which is among the 37 members of FATF.
Countries including the US, UK and France, along with India are learned to have expressed reservations about Pakistan’s commitment to stick to standards set by FATF on terror funding. The countries also highlighted that Pakistan had not filed a single FIR against UN-designated terrorists Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar and its inability to begin investigations on the source of funding of their organisations, sources said. While Saeed leads the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Azhar is the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Expressing concern, the FATF had said in a statement on the conclusion of its plenary that “not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019”. It “strongly” urged Pakistan to complete its actions plan quickly, “otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress”.
Pakistan has been under the FATF scanner since last June, when it was put on the Grey List for terror financing and money-laundering risks after an assessment of its financial system and law enforcement mechanisms.