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Pakistan to remain on FATF’s grey list till February 2021


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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Pakistan will remain to be on the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the terror-financing watchdog announced on Friday during its virtual plenary session. However, the country managed to avert being blacklisted. The FATF reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan during the session.

The Islamic nation had been unable to comply with six of the 27 points in the global terror financing and money laundering watchdog’s action plan. The International Cooperation Review Group of the FATF acknowledged that Pakistan had complied with 21 points of the action plan.

“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, FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by Feb 2021,” a FATF statement reads.

The Paris-based terror funding watchdog held virtual sessions on an action plan from October 21 to 23.

Pakistan needed 12 votes out of 39 to exit the grey list and move to the white list. To avoid the blacklist, China, Turkey, and Malaysia consistently supported the nation.

The FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019. The deadline was June this year, which was extended later on due to the COVID-19 pandemic as FATF postponed its plenary.

In February, the FATF gave Pakistan, which missed 13 targets, a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point action plan against money laundering and terror financing committed with the international community.

Seeking to wriggle out of the FATF’s grey list, debt-ridden Pakistan in August imposed financial sanctions on 88 banned terror groups and their leaders, including 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

In July, Pakistan’s Senate unanimously approved two bills related to the tough conditions set by the FATF. In August, Parliament’s lower house passed four FATF-related bills as part of the efforts by Pakistan to move from the FATF’s grey list to the white list.

In September, the joint session of the Parliament amended about 15 laws to upgrade its legal system matching international standards as required by the FATF.

With Pakistan’s continuation in the ‘grey list’, it is increasingly becoming difficult for the country to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation.

(With PTI inputs)

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