Islamabad: In what could spell trouble for Pakistan, the country will remain on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till June 2020. Notably, the decision was taken at the February 16-21 group meetings and plenary in Paris. Also Read - 'Even China Cannot Back All-weather Friend Pakistan in FATF Plenary,' Says Army Chief Gen Naravane
Further, Islamabad has also been warned that it could slip into the blacklist if it failed to comply with its 27-point action plan. Also Read - JeM Chief Masood Azhar 'Missing', Claims Pakistan Ahead of FATF Plenary
The FATF had in October last year decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘Grey’ list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and others. Also Read - FATF to Take up Pakistan's Terror-funding Issue in Paris Session, Decide Its Fate on 'Grey List'
If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.
According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, the international terror financing watchdog was set to give Pakistan time till June 2020 to achieve full compliance with its 27-point action plan and secure exit from the FATF grey list.
Sources from Paris said that Pakistan was found fully or close to fully compliant on more than half of the 27 targets.
“We are satisfied with the progress so far. There was no case at all for blacklisting us,” a source was quoted as saying in the report.
Pakistan is already finalising major amendments to at least a dozen of its laws to meet the FATF requirements by June this year.
Based on that, the country’s performance would be judged in the next FATF plenary in October 2020, the report said.
Pakistan submitted a 650-page review report to the FATF on January 8. The report was submitted in response to 150 questions raised by the FATF regarding new Pakistani policies on money laundering. The report outlined the steps taken by Pakistan between October 2019 to January 2020 to implement the group’s recommendations.
In January, Pakistan urged the US to support its bid to exit from FATF’s grey list ahead of a key meeting of the international terror financing watchdog in Beijing in which Islamabad’s efforts to adopt stricter laws against terror financing and money laundering were scrutinised. financial watchdog agreed to give Pakistan more time until October 2020 to fully comply with the remaining 13 points, the sources said.
They added that the meeting has asked Pakistan to improve prosecution and conviction in terror-financing cases.
It has also called for effective legislation to curb money laundering, The Express Tribune reported citing the sources as saying.
Pakistan has so far successfully managed to avoid the blacklist due to diplomatic support from China, Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Middle Eastern countries.
It now requires just three votes out of a total of 39 members of FATF forum to avoid falling into blacklist.
(With PTI inputs)