Pak says committed to address FATF’s concerns ahead of watchdog’s crucial meeting

Sajjad Hussain
·3-min read

Islamabad, Feb 12 (PTI) Ahead of a crucial meeting of the FATF, Pakistan on Friday said that it was committed to address the concerns of the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog to come out of the “grey” list.

Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, in his weekly briefing, said that the Paris-based FATF had assessed Pakistan to have completed 21 of the 27 action items under the current Action Plan.

“In the remaining six partially addressed items, significant progress has been made by Pakistan, which is duly acknowledged by the wider FATF membership. Pakistan remains committed to completing its FATF Action Plan,” he said.

The FATF’s Plenary and Working Group Meetings are scheduled to be held from February 21 to 26 in Paris.

Pakistan was placed on the grey list in June, 2018 and given a timeline to address global concerns by implementing 27 action points.

The FATF, during its virtual plenary in October last year, concluded that Pakistan will continue in its “grey” list till February 2021 as it has failed to fulfil six key obligations of the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that include failure to take action against two of India's most wanted terrorists -- Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, according to officials.

FATF president Marcus Pleyer had said that Islamabad must impose sanction and prosecute those involved in terror financing.

'Pakistan needs to do more on checking terror funding, it can't stop now,' he said.

According to sources, the tasks in which Pakistan failed to fulfil commitments include failure to take action against all UN designated terrorists like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed and the outfit's operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

Besides, they said that the FATF noted the fact that there was sudden disappearance of the names of more than 4,000 terrorists from its original list of 7,600 under Schedule IV of its Anti-Terrorism Act.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Chaudhri said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Sri Lanka later this month on the invitation of his counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He also talked about the seventh edition of the multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN’-2021 which is being held in Pakistan (North Arabian Sea) from February 11 to 16.

Chaudhri said that over 45 countries are participating in the exercise which will help foster shared vision for peace and prosperity in the Western Indian Ocean Region.

He said that ‘AMAN’ is a major multinational exercise, organised by the Pakistan Navy, every two years since 2007.

Russia, which is taking part in the military drill, has joined NATO members for the first time in a decade in the week-long naval exercise.

A detachment of ships of the Russian Navy entered the Pakistani territorial waters on Thursday and moored in the port of Karachi -- the main naval base of the Pakistani Navy.

The last time Russian and NATO naval forces took part in a joint exercise was at the Bold Monarch 2011 off the coast of Spain.

Besides Russia and Pakistan, five other countries have brought their ships, surface and air assets, special operations forces and marine teams for the exercise while military delegations including observers, senior officers from 30 other countries will observe the exercise.

Chaudhri said that a five-year-old child was killed and seven minors were injured due to shelling by Afghanistan on Thursday in the Bajaur tribal district.

“Frequent attacks from Afghan soil targeting Pakistan military personnel and civilians are strongly condemned…We have taken up the issue with the Afghan side through the relevant diplomatic and military channels,” he added. PTI SH/CORR CPS AKJ CPS