Close on the heels of terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force directing Pakistan to complete its actions by October 2019, India on Saturday said it ‘expects’ its western neighbour to take all necessary steps to “effectively implement” the action plan fully within the remaining time frame.
In response to a query regarding the latest FATF report, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said:
“We expect Pakistan to take all necessary steps to effectively implement the FATF Action Plan fully within the remaining time frame that is by September 2019 in accordance with its political commitment to the FATF and take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures to address global concerns related to terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from any territory under its control”.
The FATF has decided to continue to keep Pakistan on its compliance document (Grey List) for the FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) monitoring for its failure to complete the action plan items due in January and May 2019.
In a statement on Friday, the FATF has cautioned Pakistan that if it fails to take actions, “the the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress”.
“The FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019. The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plans are set to expire. Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress,” the FATF statement said.
If the FATF ‘blacklist’ Pakistan, that would essentially mean taking a crucial step what “may lead to downgrading” of Pakistan by global lenders such as IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Union.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.
The cash-strapped Pakistan is seeking its 13th bailout since the late 1980s. The central bank in Pakistan reportedly has only $ 8 bn left in foreign reserves and faces a balance of payments crisis.
Since August 2018 after former cricketer Imran Khan took over the reigns of power, Pakistan has been looking for ‘help’ from friendly countries in order to reduce the size of the bail-out package that Pakistan will likely need from the International Monetary Fund.
Addressing a function at Jhansi in UP in February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said Pakistan is moving around
with ‘begging bowl’ but the help from international community is not coming so easily.
The FATF said in its Friday statement that while Pakistan had taken steps to improve its AML/CFT regime, “It does not demonstrate a proper understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF [terrorist financing] risk”.
In June 2018, Pakistan was placed on a FATF greylist of countries whose laws do not adequately deal with money laundering and terrorist financing.