Unfazed by Islamabad’s contrived explanations, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body to curb global terror financing, has retained Pakistan on its grey list at a hearing on October 23, urging Islamabad to implement all its recommendations to improve financial controls.While announcing its decision after a virtual plenary, the Paris-based watchdog praised Pakistan for progress on 21 of the 27 targets it had set in 2018, but said the rest must also be implemented.In February 2020, FATF had extended the deadline for Pakistan to meet the remaining targets by four months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The “grey list” comprises countries whose controls over “terrorism” financing are deemed inadequate.“The government of Pakistan has signaled its commitment to complete the rest of its action plan. But it is clear, even though Pakistan has made progress, it needs to do more,” FATF President Marcus Pleyer said at the conclusion of the meeting in Paris.
“Pakistan cannot stop now. It needs to continue to carry out reforms, in particular, to implement targeted financial sanctions and prosecute and sanction those financing terrorism.”Ahead of the FATF decision, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had accused India of lobbying to downgrade the country to a more punitive “blacklist”.The Asia Pacific Group, a regional affiliate of the watchdog, had recommended keeping Pakistan on the grey list because there were still risks of terrorism financing going undetected.Pakistan had been on the FATF blacklist for years before it was removed in 2015 after making “significant progress” in fighting terror financing. Only Iran and North Korea are currently on the blacklist.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, elected in 2018, has been under tremendous pressure from the opposition parties which blame the government for the unstable economy, failure to stamp the security threats from armed groups, and the poor handling of the pandemic.The Paris-based organization also said that fraud linked to coronavirus pandemic was on the rise, with counterfeit medical supplies, economic stimulus measures and online scams hitting governments hard around the world.
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