09 Aug 2019
Pakistan is looking to China and two other developing nations for support in avoiding tough financial sanctions, amid signs it is running out of time to meet global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing standards, according to people familiar with the matter.
The government in Islamabad expects it will fail to comply with enough of the 27 action items set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force before a final review in October, the people said, asking for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.
Some FATF members — notably arch-rival India — could then push for Pakistan to be moved to the organization’s blacklist, which would reduce the country’s access to the global financial system and potentially disrupt its $6 billion International Monetary Fund program, the people added. That could trigger a balance of payments crisis, raising the stakes for China and others to head off the move.
Pakistan has been on FATF’s “grey” monitoring list since last year, after a campaign by the U.S. and European nations to get the country to do more to combat militancy and close financing loopholes to terrorist groups.
Since then, Pakistan has been asked to comply with a list of 27 measures — including identifying and supervising terror financing risks and boosting controls on illicit currency movement — to avoid joining Iran and North Korea on the blacklist. India has been pressing for such a move after holding Pakistan-based groups responsible for terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Relations deteriorated further this week over India’s move to revoke autonomy for Kashmir, where India accuses Pakistan of supporting armed extremists.
Pakistan is partially compliant with about half the targets, and believes it has made progress toward the FATF goals, the people said. But that may not be sufficient to pass the review in October, which is when the current program expires.
By Faseeh Mangi and Ethan Bronner, Bloomberg, 8 August 2019
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