FATF Watchdog Urges Pakisan to Comply With Anti-Terrorism Action Plan by February 2020

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New Delhi (Sputnik): The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), globally mandated to combat terrorism financing and money laundering, has set a fresh deadline for Pakistan to deliver on its counter-terrorism action plan by February 2020.

Pakistan will continue to remain in the “grey list” of non-compliant countries because it has addressed only five of the 27 actionable items to rein in terror funding, an inter-governmental terror funding watchdog, the FATF, said in a statement on Friday, the last day of its five-day plenary meeting in Paris.

The "grey list" of countries includes those nations whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.

There was unanimous consensus on keeping Pakistan in the “grey list” based on its poor performance, media reports quoted officials as saying.

"We strongly urge Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020, 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," the FATF statement said.

Friday’s meeting was attended by representatives from 205 countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UN, the World Bank and other organisations.

Pakistan received support from three countries - China, Turkey and Malaysia - at the FATF meeting.

A country needs the support of at least three other countries to avoid being blacklisted. Iran and North Korea are the only countries currently on the blacklist.

The FATF placed Pakistan on the "grey list" in June 2018. Islamabad was then asked to complete its counter-terrorism action plan by October 2019 or face the risk of being blacklisted.

If blacklisted in February, cash-strapped Pakistan’s financial condition could worsen as aid from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union would not be forthcoming. 

India and several other FATF member countries have repeatedly charged Islamabad with failure to take action against UN-designated terrorists, pointing out that its anti-terror law still remains out of sync with internationally accepted standards.

Earlier this month, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval claimed that Islamabad is facing considerable pressure from the FATF to crack down on terror groups operating from its soil.

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