FATF puts Pak on terror financing watch list

Cheryl Sanders
February 25, 2018

Some countries pointed out that Pakistan's actions had only come because of recent FATF pressure, and it would be counter-productive to let it off the hook just when the pressure was producing results.

The FATF "gray list" list now features nine countries - Ethiopia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu and Tunisia.

Pakistan was on the list from 2012-2015 and feared a return would deter foreign investment and hurt access to worldwide financial markets.

According to Pakistani officials, the move was politically motivated and it was through Islamabad's friends like Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia that it was thwarted.

In June 2015, after strenuous efforts and the implementation of this action plan, Pakistan was de-listed from FATF's grey list.

FATF issues a list thrice in one year of countries that failed to maintain global standards in countering money laundering and combating financing for terrorism (AML/CFT). It was included on the watch list between 2012 and 2015 for money laundering. The US spent the past week lobbying member countries of the FATF to place Pakistan on the list of countries that pose a risk to the global financial system.

He added that most of the concerns raised by the United States regarding deficiencies in the anti-money laundering regime and combating the financing of terrorism had already been addressed in 2015 when Pakistan got an exit from the "grey list". On Thursday, White House spokesman Raj Shah said President Trump was not yet satisfied with Pakistan's progress in fighting terrorism. It is also time to debate why we have been allowing extremist groups to occupy strategic places like Faizabad that sent wrong message to the global community as to what is happening in Pakistan and where is the writ of the Government.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif had proudly claimed that the country got three month reprieve from the FATF thanks to the support extended by some friendly countries.

While the world is insisting that Pakistan take decisive action in terms of introducing a policy to undermine growing presence of militant groups in Pakistan, elected governments in the country are giving millions of rupees in funding to Madrassas which are keeping Pakistan's foreign policy a hostage to their political interests tied with so-called Islamic ideology.

Ismail said Pakistan would see no substantial effect on its economy if placed on the list.

The FATF report on North Korea came as President Donald Trump increased United States sanctions on North Korea on Friday, blacklisting scores of companies and ships accused of illicit trading with the pariah nation. Pakistan protested and then rallied support with the active help of China to get a positive outcome within the APG.

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