Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will decide at a plenary meeting this week whether to remove Pakistan from its grey list of countries facing enhanced monitoring. Pakistan was included in the grey list in June 2018 for failing to do enough to counter terror financing and money laundering.
Pakistan expects to exit the list as the last plenary meeting of the FATF in June concluded that the country had “largely addressed” all 34 action items in two action plans given by the multilateral watchdog.
The plenary meeting to be held in Paris in the period 20-21 October will be the first under the presidency of Singapore’s T Raja Kumar who succeeded Germany’s Marcus Pleyer in June. The meeting will review cases of countries under increased monitoring or the grey list, including Pakistan, provide guidance on measures to prevent shell companies from being used to launder illicit funds, and take up proposals to enhance global asset recovery.
Delegates representing 206 members of the global network of FATF and observer organisations, like the International Monetary Fund, United Nations, World Bank, Interpol and Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, will participate at the working group and plenary meetings in Paris.
Pakistan was initially given a 27-point action plan by FATF in 2018 to curb terror financing. Another seven-point action plan was added last year to tackle money laundering.
Pakistan confident due to survey by FATF
A 15-member delegation from the FATF and its regional affiliate, the Asia Pacific Group, visited Pakistan from 29 August to 2 September to make an on-the-ground assessment of its efforts to stop terror financing and prosecute those involved in such activities like members of UN-designated terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The report prepared by this delegation will be presented at the plenary meeting.
Days before the last FATF plenary meeting in June, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court convicted and sentenced LeT operative Sajid Mir on charges of terror financing — after months of claims by Islamabad that Mir, who played a key role in planning and directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was believed to be dead.
Despite such steps taken by Pakistani authorities, sources in the FATF said concerns remained about the failure to prosecute other leaders of UN-designated groups such as JeM chief Masood Azhar. Pakistani authorities have contended in recent weeks that Azhar is believed to be in Afghanistan, a claim dismissed by the Taliban 'government' in Kabul.