India will ask the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to put Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards in stopping financial crime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.
FATF is a global money laundering and terror finance watchdog. It already has placed Pakistan in its grey list for failing to curb money laundering and terror financing.
Jaitley told reporters, “We want Pakistan downgraded on the FATF list”. India would make the request when the FATF meets in mid-May.
This comes after India had a major diplomatic victory with Masood Azhar be declared as a global terrorist in the United Nations Sanctions List. Masood Azhar is the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) which had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attacks. Before this, China had repeatedly blocked efforts to sanction Azhar.
“A step in the right direction to demonstrate the international community’s resolve to fight against terrorism and its enablers,” said the foreign ministry welcoming the sanction of Azhar.
Jaitley said that the core issue is that Azhar has been declared as an international terrorist for which he and his country would have to face the ramifications of that.
In February, the FATF had decided to keep Pakistan in the greylist for now and has given time until October to avoid getting blacklisted. FATF had said that Pakistan “does not demonstrate a proper understanding” of terrorism financing risks posed by militant groups, including the JeM.
Two months ago, Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar had requested FATF to remove India from its Asia-Pacific co-chair for the well-known “animosity between two countries” and “unbiased review process”.
If Pakistan is placed in FATF blacklist, it will be a big blow to Pakistan’s economy, as it will be harder for foreign investors and companies to do business in the country. FATF calls for enhanced due diligence and countermeasures in dealing with blacklisted countries, which increases the cost of doing business with such a counrty.