No escaping: Pakistan has failed to curb terror funding, may remain in greylist

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Oct 11: Pakistan has been doing all it can to ensure that it is not blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). From preparing a report, to arresting some close aides of Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan hopes that it could escape the wrath of the FATF.

However top ranking officials in New Delhi tell OneIndia that in all likelihood, Pakistan would be retained in the grey list. Pakistan was placed in the grey list by the Paris based watchdog in June last year. It was told to either act on terror funding or face the risk of being moved to the black list.

Pakistan does face a daunting task at the FATF. The Asia Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which decided to place Pakistan in the Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List as it failed to meet its standards said that the country has not taken enough action to implement sanctions against Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief, Hafiz Saeed.

FATF can anytime blacklist Pak for terror financing, says Rajnath Singh

"Pakistan has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against all listed individuals and entities - especially those associated with Lashkar-eTayyiba (LeT)/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as well as the groups'leader Hafiz Saeed," the Mutual Evaluation Report of Pakistan adopted during the annual meet in Canberra read.

Following the two day meeting at Canberra, Australia, it was stated that Pakistan had failed in 32 out of the 40 parameters. This is a major decision and a big setback for Pakistan ahead of the FATF's plenary to be held in October.

During the plenary, it would be decided if Pakistan to be remain in the grey list or downgraded to the blacklist. If moved to the blacklist, Pakistan would be slapped with harsher financial sanctions.

In June, the joint group of the Asia Pacific Group in its assessment had found that Pakistan's compliance to act against 8 terror groups which include the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been unsatisfactory. The report urged Pakistan to do more against these groups before the FATF comes up with its final decision.

Ahead of key FATF hearing, Pakistan does not appear to have done much on terror funding

The report states that stringent action should be taken against groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, their financial entities, Haqqani Network, Al-Qaeda and Da'esh.

In order to move out of the grey list, Pakistan would need at least 15 of the 36 FATF's members' votes. It would also require a minimum of 3 votes to keep itself out of the black list.

In April the FATF had asked Pakistan to implement a new set of constraints in its crackdown against terror funding, including documenting and regulating all gold markets.

In the past few months, Pakistan appears to have taken some action. While India considers that the action is only token, Pakistan is doing all it can to avoid being downgraded to the black list.

One key development in recent times is the UN listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar. The first action by Pakistan was to put his brother Rauf Asghar in charge of operations. However, with the heat stepping up, Pakistan claimed that Asghar had been placed under arrest.

Pak arrests 4 top leaders of banned JuD, LeT on charges of terror funding

The FATF on the other hand had asked Islamabad to collect data of all gold markets and restrict the sale and purchase of gold items using cash. The watchdog has also demanded that the country ensure restriction on supply of gold and jewellery to banned outfits and terrorist organisations.

The FATF had urged Pakistan to collect data of all trusts operating across the country as well as their bank accounts on the district level. It has also asked the country to ensure regulation of thousands of registered trust organisations.

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