Washington, DC – Pakistan, the country now globally known as a terrorist hub, wasn’t let off the hook as Islamabad failed to meet all the action points laid out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but avoided getting blacklisted.
The Paris-based terror financing watchdog kept the country in its “grey list” at its plenary, under the German Presidency of Dr. Marcus Pleyer on February 22, 24 and 25.
Pleyer, the FATF president, said in a virtual press conference, “Pakistan remains under increased monitoring.” Recognising that “Pakistan has made significant progress in its efforts to improve its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing framework,” Pleyer cautioned, “However, some serious deficiencies remain. All of these deficiencies are related to terrorist financing. Out of 27 elements on its action plan, three need to be fully addressed.”
Replying to a question from IAT, Pleyer said, “Pakistan will be on the agenda again in the June Plenary and as I have outlined Pakistan has committed to an action plan with 27 items – 3 items are outstanding.”
Urging Islamabad to act, Pleyer told IAT, “They must demonstrate effective action in the implementation of the targeted financial sections so that funds are not being made available to UN designated terrorists and their associates.”
The FATF President continued, “They must improve their investigations and prosecutions of all groups of concerns and all people and entities that are helping finance those UN designated terrorists – not only some groups.”
Pleyer stressed, “They must show that penalties by the courts are effective, decisive and proportionate.”
Detailing the next steps in his answer to IAT, President Pleyer said, “So as soon as Pakistan has fully completed this action plan with these three remaining outstanding items then the FATF will verify the implementation and improvements and test the sustainability of this reforms and then the members of the FATF will decide on the next steps.”
On the IAT question of whether FATF will consider Pakistan during an extraordinary plenary, scheduled in April, Pleyer told the briefing, “The April Plenary is exclusively for emergency procedures for our work in the pandemic so we will not discuss Pakistan in April.”
In a statement posted on its website, FATF noted, “Pakistan should continue to work on implementing the three remaining items in its action plan to address its strategically important deficiencies, namely by:
(1) demonstrating that TF investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities;
(2) demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions; and
(3) demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf.”
The statement cautioned Islamabad to expedite its implementation procedures saying, “As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan before June 2021.”
If the member countries are satisfied, then there are chances that by the June Plenary 2021, Pakistan will be able to come off the grey list.