Pakistan to remain on ‘greylist’ of terror financing watchdog FATF
26 Jun 2020

Pakistan received another extension on the “greylist”, as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary session on Wednesday decided to continue all countries under scrutiny for Terror Financing and Money Laundering until October 2020. However, Islamabad faced setbacks on other fronts, with the United States slamming its record on terrorism, including its failure to act against groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and received a U.S. veto against its joint effort with China to list an Indian engineer on the UN Security Council (UNSC)’s 1267 list.

At the FATF plenary, held through videoconferencing, Pakistan was due for a decision on whether it would be kept on the “greylist” or downgraded to the blacklist for failing to meet the finance watchdog’s 27-point action plan on countering terror financing and anti-money laundering (CFT/AML) measures.

Sources said the FATF, which had given Pakistan two extensions to comply with its action plan since October 2019, decided unanimously to postpone decisions on all countries under “increased monitoring” or the “greylist”, as well on “high risk jurisdictions”, as the “blacklist” is formally known, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The FATF decision came even as the U.S. released its 2019 country report for terrorism, where the State Department said Pakistan had continued to “serve as a safe haven” for regional terrorist groups.

“It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN, as well as groups targeting India, including LeT and its affiliated front organizations, and JeM, to operate from its territory,” said the report, adding that while it (Pakistan) had taken “modest” steps in 2019 to tackle terror financing and restrain some India-focused terrorist organizations after the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama last year, it still had not taken “ decisive action” that would undermine the operational capability of India and Afghanistan focused terrorists.

The U.S. government releases country-wise retrospective reports on terrorism each year.

The report also took note of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed’s arrest last year but pointed out that JeM founder Masood Azhar and Sajid Mir were at large. Azhar was designated a global terrorist by the U.N. last year.

However, the report said Pakistan had played a “constructive role” in facilitating U.S. talks with the Taliban.

The U.S. has looked to Pakistan for playing a key role in supporting its deal with the Taliban as a part of a reconciliation process in Afghanistan ahead of its pullout of troops.

By Kallol Bhattacherjee and Sriram Lakshman, The Hindu, 24 June 2020

Read more at The Hindu

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