(This was originally posted in The Hindu by Devesh K. Pandey)
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on October 21 retained Pakistan in the ‘greylist’ yet again, observing that it needed to further demonstrate that investigations and prosecutions were being pursued against the senior leadership of U.N.-designated terror groups, which include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. At a press conference, FATF president Marcus Pleyer said Pakistan remained under increased monitoring.
“The Pakistan Government has two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 action plan items. It has addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items. Its most recent action plan from June this year, which largely focussed on money laundering deficiencies, was issued after the FATF’s regional partner APG, that is Asia Pacific Group, identified a number of serious issues,” said Dr. Pleyer.
Stating that overall Pakistan was making good progress on the new action plan, in which four of the seven items had been addressed or largely addressed, Dr. Pleyer said regarding the earlier action plan, which focussed on terrorist financing issues and dated back to June 2018, Pakistan was still assessed to have largely addressed 26 of the 27 items. The FATF also announced the ‘greylisting’ of Jordan, Mali and Turkey, following the conclusion of the Plenary session. At the previous Plenary in June, the FATF had kept Pakistan in the list of “jurisdictions under increased monitoring” owing to its failure in prosecuting the top operatives of the Security Council-designated terror groups.
“The FATF recognises Pakistan’s progress and efforts to address these CFT [Combating the Financing of Terrorism] action plan items and notes that since February 2021, Pakistan has made progress to complete two of the three remaining action items on demonstrating that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed for TF [Terror Financing] convictions and that Pakistan’s targeted financial sanctions regime was being used effectively to targeted terrorist assets,” it had said.
The FATF had asked Pakistan to work on the remaining recommendation by demonstrating that terror financing investigations and prosecutions targeted senior leaders and commanders of the U.N.-designated terrorist groups. It had advised that Pakistan should continue to work to address its six strategically important deficiencies, which included enhancing international cooperation by amending the money-laundering law and demonstrating that assistance was being sought from foreign countries in implementing the UNSCR 1373 designations.
Earlier this year, the U.S. — a key FATF member — had also expressed serious concern over the acquittal of those involved in the abduction and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. Pakistan has been in the greylist since June 2018.