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Noose tightens on Pakistan as it fares badly in the FATF-APG report card on money-laundering and terror-financing

The meeting is scheduled to be held in Paris between 13-18 October where a decision could be taken on Pakistan's 'grey-list' status and whether there is a plausible reason to move towards "blacklisting" the country.

The Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has been keeping a close watch on the terror state of Pakistan, published its annual report (Mutual Evaluation report of Pakistan) on Saturday, a week ahead of the annual plenary of the FATF. The meeting is scheduled to be held in Paris between 13-18 October where a decision could be taken on Pakistan’s ‘grey-list’ status and whether there is a plausible reason to move towards “blacklisting” the country.

The report says, “With the exception of some recent actions discussed in detail below, Pakistan has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against all listed individuals and entities – especially those associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as well as the groups’ leader Hafiz Saeed.”

Exposing the Pakistan government’s collusion, the report adds, “Despite being listed by the UNSCR 1267 Committee in 2008 (JuD) and 2012 (FIF), before February 2018, JuD/FIF openly operated in Pakistan, including holding public rallies and fundraising events. Numerous Pakistani media reports showed FIF raising funds ostensibly for humanitarian relief, as well as operating a large ambulance fleet, which calls into question whether the prohibition on providing funds and financial services was being fully implemented.”

This observation might come as a major blow to the terror state which faces the threat of being placed on the FATF’ ‘black-list’.

Pakistan has reportedly scored badly in the FATF-APG report which highlighted 10 parameters for ‘Effectiveness and Technical Compliance Ratings’ and 40 parameters for ‘Technical Compliance Ratings’.

Of the ten effectiveness ratings, Pakistan was found “low” in nine areas and “moderate” in one. Of the ‘Technical Compliance’ parameters, the country was found “compliant” in only one, “partially compliant” in 26, “largely compliant” in nine, and “non-compliant” in four.

Hence the report concluded that Islamabad has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and other terrorists associated with LeT, JuD among other terror groups.

In the 228-page report which would be the bases for the scrutiny that Pakistan would be put to by the FATF, next week, APG has asked Pakistan to identify, assess and understand its ML (Money Laundering)/TF (Terror Financing) risks including transnational risks and risks associated with terrorist groups operating in the country.

It is pertinent to note here, that the global watchdog had placed Pakistan in its ‘grey-list’ in June last year. In March 2019, the Paris based organisation had also warned Pakistan regarding the increase in suspicious transactions in 2018 and 2019.

As per the data released by FATF various suspicious transactions have been reported in 2018 which were about 57% higher than that of 2017. About 1,136 STRs were issued in January and February this year alone. This comes on the heels of the warning it had issued on February 22, 2019. It had then condemned the attack on CRPF convoy in unequivocal terms, calling upon Pakistan to curb terror financing to impose restrictions on the actions of terror outfits.

FATF has been constantly exerting pressure on Pakistan to fulfil the commitments it made to curb terror financing and money laundering risks to the global financial system, whereas India also wants Pakistan which is currently listed on Grey-list, to be moved to blacklist for non-cooperation in the fight against terrorism and turning a blind-eye towards money laundering and terror funding.

This report which the FATF has now come out with might strengthen India’s case in the upcoming annual plenary session due next week.

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