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Pakistan to Stay on FATF Grey List For Failing to Act Against Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar

For representation.

For representation.

Though the watchdog lauded Pakistan for its 'significant progress', it has raised several pertinent issues

Pakistan remains on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as it has been unable to comply with all of the 27 points in the global terror financing and money laundering watchdog’s action plan. One of the key issues behind the nation not being taken off the list is its failure to take action against UN-listed terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar, the FATF said.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) president Marcus Pleyer said the decision has been taken at the conclusion of the virtual plenary of the Paris-based organisation. Pakistan continues to remain on “increased monitoring list", Pleyer said at a virtual press conference.

“Increased monitoring list" is the another name for the ‘Grey List’. Pleyer said Pakistan has now completed 26 of the 27 action items given to it 2018.

The FATF has asked Pakistan to take action against UN designated terrorists, he said. The UN designated terrorists based in Pakistan include Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar, Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed and its ‘operational commander’ Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

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Azhar, Saeed and Lakhvi are most wanted terrorists in India for their involvement in numerous terrorist acts, including 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and bombing of a CRPF bus at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. Pleyer said the Pakistan government has failed to check risk of money laundering, leading to corruption and terror financing, “The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT)-related item by demonstrating that Terror Financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups," an FATF statement said.

Meanwhile, the watchdog has raised several pertinent issues for Pakistan to follow:

• Pakistan should continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining item by demonstrating that Terror Funding investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups;

• Enhancing international cooperation by amending the money laundering act law;

• Demonstrating that supervisors are conducting both on-site and off-site supervision;

• Demonstrating that proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are applied consistently to all legal persons and legal arrangements for non-compliance with beneficial ownership requirements;

• Demonstrating an increase in Money laundering investigations and prosecutions and that proceeds of crime continue to be restrained and confiscated in line with Pakistan’s risk profile, including working with foreign counterparts to trace, freeze, and confiscate assets.

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 nation which is in a precarious financial situation.

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 Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.

With inputs from agencies.

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first published:June 25, 2021, 18:07 IST