Don’t move Pakistan out of terror fund grey list, key group tells FATF

Shubhajit Roy
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If Pakistan continues on the grey list, it would be very difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, making its financial condition even more precarious. (AP)

Ahead of the Financial Action Task Force’s plenary session which is going to take a final decision Friday, a sub-group tasked to review Pakistan’s case has recommended that Islamabad should continue to be in the “grey list” for its failure to check terror funding. It has stopped short of recommending the country for the black list.

Despite efforts by Pakistan to get out of the grey list and India’s efforts to push it to the black list, the global terror financing watchdog’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) has taken a decision to keep Pakistan on the grey list. A recommendation by ICRG is a precursor to the final decision at the plenary session, and is usually not overturned.

Read | Why Pakistan might not be ‘blacklisted’ this time by FATF

“The ICRG meeting, sub group of the FATF, has recommended to retain Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’. A final decision will be taken on Friday when the FATF takes up issues concerning Pakistan,” a source said.

The sense in New Delhi is that the sub-group has “taken note” of steps taken by Islamabad against terror outfits, but has not fulfilled its commitments. Last October, Pakistan got a breather from FATF when it was kept on the grey list. India had mounted a diplomatic offensive for blacklisting of Pakistan as it had not met its commitments to check terror financing and money laundering.

At the last plenary session, Pakistan had addressed only five of the 27 tasks given to it to control funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, responsible for a series of attacks in India.

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Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and Jamat-ud-Dawa(JuD) founder Hafiz Saeed (File)

Pakistan was given time till February 2020 to fulfil its commitments. An objective assessment of Pakistan’s progress in implementing its action plan was made, while the FATF had noted the insufficiency of Islamabad’s implementation as “serious concerns”.

If Pakistan continues on the grey list, it would be very difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, making its financial condition even more precarious. Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea. China, Turkey and Malaysia are learnt to have resisted India’s efforts throughout the last year-and-half. India has lobbied with several countries, from the US to Europe, Australia to West Asian countries, to make the case for blacklisting of Pakistan.