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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Pak remains on terror grey list, watchdog says deadlines over

Strategic deficiencies, non-compliance, Pak has to act by Feb 2021, says FATF.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: October 24, 2020 7:37:08 am
Pak remains on terror grey list, watchdog says deadlines overThe FATF had issued the action plan after placing Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018. (File)

CITING “STRATEGIC deficiencies” and non-compliance with six key markers in its 27-point action plan on terror-financing and money-laundering, Paris-based global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Friday said Pakistan will continue to remain on its grey list.

The decision was announced by FATF president Marcus Pleyer after a three-day virtual plenary session. “To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021,” the FATF said in a statement.

Pakistan also needs to work on four areas to “address its strategic deficiencies”, it said. Listing the deficiencies, the FATF said that Pakistan needs to:

* “Demonstrate that law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of terror financing activity which target designated persons and entities, and those who act on the behalf/direction of the designated persons or entities”.

* “Demonstrate that terror financing prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions”.

*“Demonstrate effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all…designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf; preventing the raising and moving of funds including in relation to non-profit organisations; identifying and freezing assets; and prohibiting access to funds and financial services”.

* “Demonstrate enforcement against violation of terror financing sanctions…of administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases”.

On Thursday, pushing for Pakistan to remain on the list, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said: “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.”

The FATF had issued the action plan after placing Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018. Recently, the task force’s International Cooperation Review Group noted that Pakistan had complied with 21 points.

In February, the FATF gave Pakistan a four-month grace period to complete the 27-point plan. It extended the deadline by three months due to the postponement of its plenary following the Covid outbreak.

The FATF listing makes it extremely difficult for Pakistan to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union.

In August, 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.

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