Pakistan foils India’s FATF blacklist move, given time until October
Islamabad has been on the global money laundering watchdog’s radar since June 2018, when it was placed on a grey list for terrorist financing and money laundering risks after an assessment of the country's financial system and security mechanism.
Moving one step further, New Delhi — co-chair of the joint group of FATF and Asia Pacific Group — wants Islamabad to be placed on the Paris-based watchdog’s blacklist of the countries, which fail to meet international standards in combating financial crimes.
Pakistan has until October to improve its counter-terror financing operations in line with an internationally agreed action plan or face actions against it, the global watchdog stated on Friday.
“Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress,” it said after a meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Confirming the development that took place at the five-day meeting of the watchdog’s Plenary and Working Group meeting in Orlando, Florida last week, an official at Pakistan's foreign ministry admitted that “the danger is still not over”.
The group will now formally announce the decision of not blacklisting Islamabad in its Plenary scheduled in Paris on October 13-18.
“This is certainly a positive development that there is no imminent threat of blacklisting [by the FATF] due to crucial support from Turkey, China and Malaysia”, the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to make a public statement due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal refused to comment on the development.
In a statement in February this year, the FATF said, “Given the limited progress on action plan items due in January 2019, the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019.”
The watchdog agreed that Islamabad had made progress towards implementation of the action plan — negotiated between Pakistan and the FATF members — in June last year but still sought “dissuasive sanctions” and “ effective prosecution” in this connection.
Islamabad, at a meeting in Guangzhou, China last month, was reportedly asked to “do more" as its compliance on 18 of the 27 indicators — pointed out in the action plan — was unsatisfactory.
Pakistan, in recent months, has taken some major steps in accordance with the action plan, which includes, no foreign currency transactions without a national tax number, and ban on currency change of up to $500 in the open currency market without submission of a national identity card copy.
Pakistan had faced a similar situation in 2011 when it was included in the grey list and was taken out only in 2015 after it successfully implemented an action plan.
Islamabad requires at least 15 out of 36 votes to move out of the watchdog’s grey list, which is causing an estimated loss of $10 billion per year.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi claimed on Wednesday that London had agreed to support his country in its efforts to move out of the list.
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