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Sub group of terror financing watchdog FATF recommends continuation of Pakistan in ‘Grey List’

The International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Tuesday recommended that Pakistan be retained on the “Grey List”, given its failure to completely implement the 27-point action plan to check terror financing.

The final decision would be announced on Friday, at the end of the five-day FATF Plenary session in Paris, sources aware of the proceedings said.

It is understood that most of the group members were in favour of continuing the pressure on Pakistan to execute all the measures suggested against funding to banned terror outfits and United Nations designated global terrorists operating from its soil.

Turkey, Malaysia’s support

Speaking in favour of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia said Islamabad could be taken off the “Grey List” in coming June. Leaders of these two countries have already gone public on their plans to back Pakistan in the FATF.

According to the sources, Pakistan’s Minister for Economic Affairs Hamad Azhar assured the group that all the objectives would be achieved as early as June 2020. He claimed that since the last FATF Plenary, the country had taken all possible measures against terror financing.

Pakistan was presented with the 27-point action plan in the previous FATF meet in October last.

Mr. Azhar said Pakistan had acted against trans-national terror funding operations a priority and that it had convicted unprecedented number of persons, which includes Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed. All the shortcomings identified in the mutual evaluation report would also be addressed soon, he added.

India had countered Pakistan’s claims, saying the recent action taken by Islamabad against Saeed and others was an attempt to evade further FATF sanctions. While the LeT chief was recently convicted of terror financing, the Pakistani authorities had claimed that a large number of terrorists were arrested, the accounts of banned outfits frozen and the institutions run by them were taken over by the government.

‘Terror funding still on’

India asserted that the terror funding operations were still on and outfits such as the LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed, whose chief Masood Azhar’s location as per Pakistan is “unknown”, were having a free run in Pakistan.

In November last, when Pakistan complied with only five of the 27 action plan points, the FATF asked it to “swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020”.

The FATF statement said: “ …Otherwise should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by next Plenary, the FATF will take action, including urging members to advise their financial institutions to give special attention to business relations/transactions with Pakistan.”

About a month ago, at the Asia Pacific Joint Group meeting in Beijing, Pakistan was adjudged to have cleared 14 points.

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