According to a media report on Monday, the Financial Action Task Force will decide on the status of Pakistan’s gray list in a virtual meeting scheduled for the end of this month.
The Paris-based global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing graylisted Pakistan in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement an action plan to curb money laundering and terrorist financing by the end of 2019. However, the deadline was later extended for the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August, debt-ridden Pakistan imposed financial sanctions on 88 banned terrorist groups and their leaders, including the 26/11 Mumbai mastermind and the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-Masood Azhar, head of e- Mohammed (JeM), and Don Dawood Ibrahim from the underworld.
The FATF virtual plenary, scheduled for October 21-23, will decide whether to graylist Pakistan based on a review of Islamabad’s performance in meeting global anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (ML & TF). The Dawn News reported.
The meeting was scheduled earlier in June, but Islamabad got an unexpected breather after the global financial crimes watchdog temporarily postponed all mutual assessments and follow-up appointments amid a serious health risk following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency also took a general break in the review process, giving Pakistan another four months to meet the requirements.
In February, the FATF gave Pakistan, which had missed 13 targets, a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point plan of action against ML&TF, which was committed with the international community.
In its third plenary, held practically in June, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on the gray list because Islamabad did not monitor the flow of funds to terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
With Pakistan’s continuation on the gray list, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the country to obtain financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union. This further exacerbates the problems for the nation, which is in a precarious financial position.
In July, the Pakistani Senate unanimously approved two bills related to the FATF’s difficult conditions. In August, the Lower House of Parliament passed four FATF-related laws as part of Pakistan’s efforts to move from the FATF gray list to the white list.
In September, the joint session of parliament amended some 15 laws to bring its legal system into line with international standards required by the FATF. The government has already submitted its report to the FATF and its affiliated review groups and responded to their comments detailing compliance with the 13 outstanding action points, the Dawn report said.
This month’s FATF meeting will review Pakistan’s compliance with the 13 remaining Action Points. The FATF will assess whether the country has demonstrated remedial measures and sanctions for violations of risk management for terrorist financing and the sanctioning obligations for terrorist financing.
The FATF will also assess whether the competent authorities have cooperated and taken action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services, and demonstrably have carried out checks on cross-border currencies and transferable instruments at all ports of entry, including the application of effective measures. proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
Pakistan also needs to determine whether law enforcement agencies have identified and investigated the broadest range of terrorist financing activities and whether the terrorist financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions are targeting specific individuals and organizations, as well as those acting on behalf of or on the direction of the specific individuals or organizations People act companies that show TF law enforcement will result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, the report said.
The country’s standout areas of action also include the effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (backed by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1,267 and 1,373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing funds from being raised and moved , identification and freezing of assets (movable and immovable) and prohibition of access to funds and financial services, it said.
If the FATF finds in its meeting that Pakistan has not met its requirements, there is every possibility that the global body will blacklist the country along with North Korea and Iran.
In August, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that if it were blacklisted by the FATF, the entire Pakistani economy would be destroyed due to inflation and a massive decline in the Pakistani rupee.
The FATF is an intergovernmental body founded in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
The FATF currently has 39 members, including two regional organizations – the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.