Pakistan will on Monday present its report to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris amid reports that the country’s efforts to tackle terror-financing and money laundering could fail to comply with the requirements mandated by the global body. Pakistan, included on the “grey list” compiled by the FATF, has been under increasing pressure to stop financing militant groups operating on its soil.
The FATF, in meetings being held in Paris from October 13 to October 18, will scrutinise if Pakistan should be blacklisted, which could entail extensive economic sanctions and impact a $6-billion bailout programme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Meanwhile, a top US diplomat said on Saturday that Pakistan should act against terrorist activities originating from its soil.“As Imran Khan has said, Pakistan, for its own future, must prevent militant groups from operating on its soil,” said Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.
She said the US “welcomes news” of the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leaders and hopes to see terrorists, including 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, prosecuted. Pakistani authorities on Thursday arrested Saeed’s four aides on terror-financing charges, according to the country’s police.
Pakistan was placed on the “grey list” last year, and a string of assessments by FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which monitors compliance with the watchdog’s standards, found that the country has failed to deliver on most components of a 27-point action plan.
The report is among the materials to be considered by the FATF’s plenary and working group meetings this month before it decides whether to retain Pakistan on its “grey list” or downgrade its status to the “black list”.
The country’s economic affairs minister Hammad Azhar — who left for Paris with the Pakistani delegation on Sunday — will present the report at the FATF meeting.
In June, the FATF had given Pakistan time till October to improve its “counterterrorist financing” operations in accordance with the agreed plan.
It had expressed concern that “not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items by its previous January deadline; it had also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019”.
New Delhi has previously called for increased cooperation between the UN and organisations such as FATF to take action against terror financing transnational organised criminal networks. In September, India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh had said that the FATF can blacklist Pakistan anytime now for terror financing.