PAKISTAN has been included in the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force for not stopping the financing of terrorism despite its diplomatic efforts to avoid the decision. The decision was made on last Wednesday night at the plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris, where Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar represented Pakistan, according to official sources. The announcement comes a day after Pakistan presented a comprehensive 26-point plan of action to the FATF to stifle funding for militant groups, including Mumbai attack leader Hafiz Saeed and its affiliates, to avoid being included in the blacklist.
Placement on the grey list could harm Pakistan’s economy as well as its international position. Early in the day, Akhtar had urged the FATF to remove Pakistan from its grey list. While the 37-nation FTAP plenary began its process on Pakistan’s 26-point action plan over a 15-month period, the Pakistani delegation informed the guard of the steps that Islamabad had taken to eliminate money laundering and financing of terrorism to prevent the country from being placed on the grey list. Being officially placed on the grey list was not a surprise for Pakistan. “It’s a political decision and nothing to do with Pakistan’s performance against terrorism”. Pakistan will remain on the list for a year or so and that it will eventually be left out of it as it has in the past. Pakistan remained on the grey list of the FATF from 2012 to 2015. The process began in February 2018 when the FATF approved Pakistan’s nomination for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as the Grey List. Pakistan was asked to prepare a plan to address the concerns of the international body and obtain its approval, or it could risk being moved to the black list. The 26-point plan of action for the FATF planetarium with a commitment to implementing it over a period of 15 months to address the concerns of the global community. The backing of the plan means that the FATF formally named Pakistan on the list. Pakistan would have been in the public statement of the FATF, also called a blacklist.
On June 20, the Pakistan Securities and Exchange Commission issued the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regulations 2018, in compliance with the FATF recommendations. On June 8, the National Security Committee (NSC) reaffirmed its commitment to cooperating with the FATF. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other threats related to the integrity of the international financial system. By January 2019, Pakistan will publish updated lists of persons and entities banned under the Anti-Terrorist Law and entities designated by the UN.
Pakistan again has problems with its terror tactics; The Paris-based Financial Action Force places her on the grey list for reason that she is not stopping the financing of terrorism; The United States says it will put more pressure on Islamabad to stop helping and inciting terrorism from its territory. In another blow to Pakistan on the world stage, the Financial Action Task Force placed her on the grey list for not stopping anti-terrorist financing. The decision was made at the planning session of the Financial Action Task Force of the global financial supervision group in Paris which really affect Pakistan in all aspects specially economy of Pakistan. Placement on the grey list harm Pakistan’s economy as well as its international position. Meanwhile, the United States has made it clear that it cannot turn a blind eye to the protectors of terrorism Despite Pakistan’s desperate attempts to avoid or at least delay inclusion, the financial watchdog believed that Pakistan had not been able to curb the financing of terrorism in its territory. In February, after a US proposal backed by Britain, France and Germany, to designate Pakistan as having “strategic deficiencies” in “counteracting terrorist financing”, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of 37 nations, a global body that fights terrorism financing and money laundering, has placed Pakistan on an observation list of countries where terrorist groups can still raise funds. Islamabad received until June to act jointly and present a report explaining why it should not be included in the grey list.
The proposal was initially rejected by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China, but China later withdrew its opposition and said it did not want to “lose the lead by supporting a measure that is doomed to failure. What is surprising is that Pakistan did not move to the blacklist, of non-cooperative countries or territories, given that its so-called actions against the financing of terrorism are pure rubbish, Just the other day, the government lifted the ban on the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba, an outlawed extremist group, and defrosted the assets of its leader Ahmed Ludhianvi’s accounts, which means it can continue to raise funds legally for his team, which has close ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. If in fact Pakistan is sincerely trying to curb terrorist financing, who will fund the terrorists operating in Afghanistan, and let other assorted scum who openly go to India? Now Pakistan is officially put on the grey list, it is giving a negative impact on our economy, and that too at a time when the nation is preparing for the election scheduled for July 25. Even before the FATF meeting, the international rating agency Moody’s downgraded Pakistan’s rating from stable to negative on June 20, citing “greater risks of external vulnerability.” It will not take long time this grey will convert into black for Pakistan and as a nation it is a point where we need to think, where we are going? It is the time to elect a Government who can save us to be in a black list. Just think for a while.
— The writer is a Quetta based columnist and an Independent researcher.