The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday warned Pakistan it faced the possibility of being added to the watchdog’s “blacklist” and face greater scrutiny of all transactions in its financial system if it fails to fully implement an action plan to counter terror financing by June.
A statement issued by the multilateral watchdog’s president, Xiangmin Liu of China, ” that all deadlines for the 27-point action plan had expired and expressed concerns at Pakistan’s failure to implement the plan according to agreed timelines”.
The FATF, which has been repeatedly assessing Pakistan’s efforts to implement the action plan since the country was placed on the watchdog’s “grey list” in June 2018, said Islamabad has “largely addressed” only 14 of the 27 action items, with “varying levels of progress” on the rest of the plan.
The statement said “All deadlines in the action plan have expired. While noting recent and notable improvements, the FATF again expresses concerns given Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the [terror financing] risks emanating from the jurisdiction.
It added that “The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020″. Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress especially in prosecuting and penalising [terror financing] not be made by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdiction to advise their to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan.”
The FATF listed eight specific areas that Pakistan should focus on while implementing its action plan to address “strategic deficiencies”, including “effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets and prohibiting access to funds and financial services”.
Among the UN-designated terrorists active on Pakistani soil are Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, who was given a five-and-a-half year prison term in two terror financing cases four days before the FATF meetings began in Paris, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and mob boss Dawood Ibrahim.