In a development that comes across as sheer embarrassment for the supporters of terrorists and their protectors at UN forums, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) today included Turkey in the grey list that contains the names of countries that are suspected to endorse militancy. The country Turkey — along with China and Malaysia — used to protect from getting blacklisted, Pakistan will remain on the grey list of the FATF as it needs to “further demonstrate” that action is being taken against UN-designated terrorists like India’s most wanted Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, and groups led by them, the global body against terror financing said on Thursday.
FATF President Marcus Pleyer said the decision was taken at the conclusion of the three-day virtual plenary of the organisation. It is scheduled to meet again in April 2022.
Pakistan continues to remain on an “increased monitoring list”, Marcus said at a virtual press conference from Paris.
“Increased monitoring list” is another name for the ‘grey list’.
“Pakistan has taken a number of important steps but needs to “further demonstrate that investigations and prosecutions are being pursued against the senior leadership of UN-designated terror groups,” Marcus said.
“All these changes are about helping authorities prevent terrorism, stop corruption and prevent organised criminals from profiting from their crimes,” he added.
Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June 2018 for failing to check money laundering, leading to terror financing.
The FATF had given Islamabad a 27-point action plan that was to be completed by October 2019. Six more points were added later.
Pakistan continues to be on the grey list due to its failure to comply with four of the 34 action points, including investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups, including Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar.
Masood was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the 2016 Pathankot attack and the 2019 Pulwama attack.
After the announcement by the FATF in June 2021, of keeping Pakistan on the grey list, Islamabad had said it would implement the action points within “3-4 months”.
The latest US Congressional report on terrorism “Terrorist and Other Militant Groups in Pakistan”, says that at least 12 groups designated as “foreign terrorist organizations” by the US are based in Pakistan, including five that are India-centric. As per the US administration, Islamabad continues to remain a base of operations for numerous non-state militant groups, many with global reach.
Financial aid at risk
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 country.
Pakistan has so far avoided being on the blacklist with the help of China, Turkey and Malaysia.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. It currently has 39 members, including two regional organisations: the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.
Who is on the list?
As of 2019, FATF has blacklisted North Korea and Iran over terror financing.
Jordan, Mali, Turkey were added to the grey list today. The Bahamas, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, Panama, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen are on the grey list too.
Mauritius and Botswana were removed from the grey list on Thursday.