Pakistan might be pushed into the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘blacklist’ next month as it continues to finance and tolerate terrorist organizations, Greek City Times reported.
Terrorist organisations, such as Jamaar-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM), continue to operate with impunity in Pakistan.
The FATF blacklist is a list of countries that the intra-governmental organisation considers non-cooperative in the global effort to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The global watchdog will consider Pakistan ‘greylist’ status, meant for countries “under increased monitoring” during a meeting next month. The country was placed on the grey-list in 2018.
FATF President Marcus Pleyer said during October’s review meeting in 2020 that there were “very serious deficiencies” in Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorist financing and gave the country until the February 19-21 Plenary to resolve these issues as they cannot wait “forever”, Greek City Times reported.
“As long as we see that the country is progressing with the action items, and we have seen progress with Pakistan, we give them a chance to repair the outstanding issues, but we do not do this forever,” Pleyer said.
Although Pakistan is only on a grey list, it risks being pushed into the blacklist if it does not fulfill its commitments to curb terrorism financing, and even if it does fulfill its obligations, FATF will remain suspicious and an on-sight inspection will take place, the Greek city Times reported.
“After that on-site visit, the next plenary will then decide whether Pakistan has indeed fully and effectively completed the action plan and then there is a decision on whether Pakistan would leave the grey list or not,” Pleyer said.
The Greek City Times further highlighted several instances proving Pakistan’s support to terrorism.
A video of Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s (JuD) Central Leader, Convener Tehreek Hurmat-e-Rasool, and Chief Editor of ‘Weekly Jarrar’, Amir Hamza, emerged of them addressing the “Tahaffuz Hurmat-e-Rasool Conference” (Conference of Protection of the Sanctity of Prophet Muhammad) at Muridke in Punjab on October 29, 2020.
In his address, Hamza praised the Chechen teenager that beheaded school teacher Samuel Paty in France in October last year.
This was because Paty showed a cartoon depiction of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
In October, the FATF decided that Pakistan will continue to be on its greylist and asked it to continue to work on implementing an action plan to address its strategic deficiencies including demonstrating that its law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of terrorist financing activity and demonstrating that prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
Pakistan is on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018 and the government was given a final warning in February 2020 to complete the 27 action points by June in the same year.
The FATF extended the June deadline to September due to the spread of coronavirus that disrupted the FATF plenary meetings.
Pakistan is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. As things stand, Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.
In recent weeks, Pakistan has tried to paint a picture that it started the reforms, including the passing of some Bills to prevent blacklisting by the FATF.