Pakistan has been lobbying with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is due to present, by October, its evaluation report on Islamabad’s action plan to curb terror financing.
Last month, the FATF’s regional affiliate Asia-Pacific Group (APG) had put Pakistan in the enhanced expedited follow-up list, a category reserved for countries having major deficiencies in their anti-money-laundering and counter-financing of terrorism framework and implementation.
Pakistan has been under the FATF radar for its complicity towards terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) among others. In addition, terrorists like Hafiz Saeed are regularly seen ranting anti-India rhetoric and collecting so-called donations.
The FATF recently gave a stern message to Pakistan to expedite its action plan for curbing terror financing by October or face the prospect of getting blacklisted, which could aggravate problems for its stagnant economy.
One of the constant themes of Pakistani propaganda has been that various countries — primarily India — were politicising FATF’s proceedings.
However, the reality is different.
In a run-up to the FATF Plenary scheduled to be held in Paris from October 13 to 18 where Pakistan’s compliance with the action plan will be assessed, Islamabad has been engaged in hectic lobbying in a desperate bid to influence the outcome in its favour.
In addition, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet leaders from Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, France, Germany, Britain and Canada on the sidelines of 74th session of United Nations General Assembly in New York from September 17 to 20.
Khan’s meetings have also been proposed with the leaders of Indonesia, Australia, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the United States, Mexico and Argentina to muster support on issues related to FATF and grey-listing process.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is also scheduled to seek support from Kuwait, Sweden, South Korea, China, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Russia, Greece Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Ireland, Brazil and other countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
During recent assessments, Pakistan has been rated low on 10 out of 11 FATF immediate outcomes, and partially or non-compliant on 30 out of 40 FATF recommendations as per its mutual evaluation report.
Under the FATF action plan, Pakistan has nothing substantial to show by way of terror-related seizures in the list of over 900 seized properties of various terror organisations. Nor were formal terror financing cases lodged or investigations completed since February 2018.
Thus, Pakistan has been largely non-compliant on all parameters stipulated by the FATF.