Pakistan likely to stay in FATF grey list

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At the FATF headquarter in Paris where a crucial meeting is going on, Pakistan’s balance sheetof measures taken to curb money laundering and terror financing is being drawn up…reports Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

When it comes to Pakistan and its etched-in-stone terror links, there is no black -and- white. Islamabad, instead seems “content” with a position in the “grey” list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Of course, it shuns the watchdogs “Black”, lest it is lined up in the rogue gallery, shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of North Korea and Iran.

At the FATF headquarter in Paris where a crucial meeting is going on, Pakistan’s balance sheet– of measures taken to curb money laundering and terror financing is being drawn up.

After a threadbare stock taking on the steps taken and not taken by Islamabad to stop money laundering and terror financing, the feared terror-monitor will take a decision on whether to keep Pakistan on its grey list, or move it in the direction of the black list. There is also an impossible third option–declare that Pakistan has finally come clean, and include it in the white list as a badge of honour.

Meanwhile, the German media DW Urdu, quoting its sources, is reporting that even this time, Pakistan will not be liberated from the shameful grey list.

Quoting its sources in Paris, the channel says that European countries, especially the host country France, would recommend keeping Pakistan on the grey list and that position would be adopted by all other European countries.

Even Pakistan has an apprehension about its grey fate. This was evident in the statement made on Wednesday by its garrulous foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, fresh out a grilling by the Afghan television station, Tolo News, where he ably demonstrated that he suffers from the foot-in-the-mouth disease.

“There is no longer any justification to keep Pakistan on the grey list as the country has fulfilled 26 out of 27 action items of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),” the minister said two days after FATF’s five-day virtual meeting began in Paris.

While FATF will make its findings public on June 25, Qureshi once again has started blaming India, “India is making attempts to misuse the forum for political purposes, as it has indulged in continuous anti-Pakistan propaganda. Pakistan has taken concrete steps to curb money-laundering and terrorist financing.” Obviously, the learned assemblage in Paris would not be impressed by Qureshi’s chronic scapegoating of India.

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Pakistan has been in the grey list since 2018. That year, in February, FATF decided to lodge it in the infamous roster, giving it four more months � up to June 20, 2021 � to complete its full action plan.

Pakistan has been trying to convince the world that the main leadership of the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al-Qaida, and so-called Islamic State global terrorist groups is based in Afghanistan with sufficient funds available to them.

Pakistan’s Imran Khan government also “tried” to show the world that it has taken action and banned UN designated terror organisations like Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e Mohammad (JEM) through tough ordinances. Islamabad’s bury-its-head in sand argument claims LeT is defunct and terror financing cases have been registered against most of the identified leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat foundations, and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, a key accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has been sentenced and jailed for 10 years. Another terrorist leader, JeM’s chief Masood Azhar has a serious medical condition and is bed-ridden in Bahawalpur.

But the world knows that all those terror leaders are roaming freely in Pakistan. Pakistani soldiers are fighting along with Taliban and Islamic State against the Afghan government. Terrorists of LeT and JeM are quite active in Jammu and Kashmir.

Qureshi meanwhile has gone into yet another paroxysm of skewed reasoning. He points out that Pakistan “inherited” the problem of the FATF grey-listing from the previous regime, and the incumbent government has done its best to bring the country out of it.

Pakistani based analysts say that for Pakistani government, only the black list matters. Imran Khan knows the US and its allies won’t like to put Pakistan in the black list for their own reasons. As far as Pakistan is concerned, when in the last meeting, FATF extended Pakistan’s grey listing till June 2021, Qureshi, the verbal gymnast celebrated the decision, saying that India had failed to push Pakistan into FATF’s black list!! Qureshi, living a full life in his “mungerilal ke haseen sapne” bubble believes that it is difficult to keep a country like Pakistan on the grey list forever. Pakistan would get off after a decent interval and a spate of superficial measures. Keep dreaming janab and watch the world pass by.

(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

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