The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) voted on Thursday to keep Pakistan on its ‘grey list,’ with its status to be checked again in June 2021 at an extraordinary plenary session.
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer made the announcement at a press conference from Paris on the results of the FATF’s four-day virtual plenary
“Pakistan remains under increased monitoring,” Pleyer said, adding that while Islamabad had made “important strides,” there were still “major flaws” in anti-terrorist funding structures in place.
He said Pakistan “must improve their investigations and prosecutions of all groups and entities financing terrorists and their associates and show [that] penalties by courts are effective. As soon as Pakistan shows it has completed these items, FATF will verify and members of FATF will vote.”
“Now is not the time to place a nation on the blacklist,” the FATF president said, referring to Pakistan’s high-level pledge to enforce the illicit finance watchdog’s recommendations.
He further said that after Pakistan had finished the action, the watchdog would “verify the viability of the changes and address it in the next plenary in June.”
In response to a query about India’s suspected financing of terrorism, the FATF president refused to comment on particular events, stating that the organisation was not an investigative body. “India is subject to the same laws as any other country, and when the time comes, FATF will judge India as any other country,” he said.
Pakistan, according to a note on the FATF website, “shall continue to work on enforcing the three remaining things in its action plan to resolve its strategically relevant shortcomings,” namely:
1) showing that TF (terrorism financing) investigations and lawsuits are directed at or on behalf of the identified individuals or entities;
2) demonstrating that TF convictions result in successful, proportionate, and deterrent sanctions;
3) demonstrating the effective enforcement of targeted financial sanctions against both 1267 and 1373 declared terrorists, including those working for or on their behalf.
The FATF acknowledges that substantial progress has been achieved on the overall action plan.Pakistan has made strides on all action plan items to date, and has primarily resolved 24 of the 27 action items, according to the release. “Given that all action plan deadlines have passed, the FATF firmly urges Pakistan to complete its entire action plan by June 2021.”