FATF to decide Pakistan’s fate on terror support

New Delhi (NVI): Pakistan’s performance regarding its claim of fighting against terrorism will come up for review at a crucial three-day meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) beginning tomorrow in Paris.

The 39-nation FATF, which is a global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering, has placed Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’ since June 2018. It had asked Pakistan to implement 27 actions to demonstrate its sincerity towards fight against terrorism, failing which it would be placed in the Black List.

Black listing would mean that Pakistan would not be able to receive aid or loan from international financial institutions like IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The plenary of the FATF, which has already issued warnings to Pakistan, was earlier scheduled in June this year but it was postponed in view of the coronavirus pandemic. It also paused the review process, thus giving additional four months to Pakistan to meet the requirements.

The FATF will primarily judge whether Pakistani authorities were taking enough action against illegal money or value transfer services and have tightened entry points used for illegal funding to terror entities and activities.

According to the people in the know, Pakistan has fulfilled 21 of the mandated actions and not implemented six key obligations. It is particularly to be seen what view the FATF takes with regard to internationally-designated and sanctioned terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, who continue to roam freely and with impunity in Pakistan.

Among the 39 member countries of the FATF, Pakistan last time got support of China, Turkey and Malaysia, which was then ruled by radical leader Mahathir Mohammed. All other nations, particularly the US, UK, France and Germany have been unhappy over Pakistan’s inaction against terrorism directed against other countries.

India, on its part, is keeping a close watch on the developments related to the upcoming FATF meeting.

Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Saeed, leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, top commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba are the masterminds of umpteen terror attacks in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai multiple attacks and bombing of the CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Kashmir on February 14 last year.

Pakistan will need 12 votes to come out of the Grey list of the FATF, which was established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.