NEW DELHI: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to decide at a plenary meeting this week whether to remove Pakistan from its “grey list” of countries facing enhanced monitoring.
Pakistan was included in the grey list in June 2018 for failing to do enough to counter terror financing and money laundering. It is widely expected in Pakistan to exit the list as the FATF’s last plenary meeting in June concluded the country “largely addressed” all 34 action items in two action plans given by the multilateral watchdog.
The plenary meeting to be held in Paris during October 20-21 will be first under the presidency of Singapore’s T Raja Kumar, who succeeded Germany’s Marcus Pleyer in June. The meeting will review cases of countries under increased monitoring or the grey list, including Pakistan, provide guidance on measures to prevent shell companies from being used to launder illicit funds, and take up proposals to enhance global asset recovery.
Delegates representing 206 members of the FATF’s global network and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, United Nations, World Bank, Interpol and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, will participate at the working group and plenary meetings in Paris.
Pakistan was initially given a 27-point action plan by FATF in 2018 to curb terror financing, and another seven-point action plan last year to tackle money laundering.
A 15-member delegation from FATF and its regional affiliate, the Asia Pacific Group (APG), visited Pakistan from August 29 to September 2 to make an on-the-ground assessment of its efforts to stop terror financing and to prosecute those involved in such activities, including members of UN-designated terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The report prepared by this delegation will be presented at the plenary meeting.
Days before the last FATF plenary meeting in June, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court convicted and sentenced LeT operative Sajid Mir on charges of terror financing. This came after months of claims by Islamabad that Mir, who played a key role in planning and directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was believed to be dead.
Despite such steps taken by Pakistani authorities, people familiar with the matter said concerns remained about the failure to prosecute other leaders of UN-designated groups, such as JeM chief Masood Azhar. Pakistani authorities have contended in recent weeks that Azhar is believed to be in Afghanistan, a claim dismissed by the Taliban setup in Kabul.