Sharif tries to eliminate Pakistan from FATF ‘Grey’ list

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The FATF in its last plenary held in Paris in March, had stated that Pakistan had completed 26 of the 27 action items that it was required to do in its 2018 action plan…writes Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

The new government in Islamabad headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is desperately trying to get Pakistan out of the “Grey” list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which includes countries that have not done enough to curb channels of terror finance.

The FATF will hold a meeting in Berlin from June 14 to 17 to take a decision on whether Pakistan deserves to be removed from the list based on its report card for the latest period.

According to Pakistani media, Sharif is sending its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar as the head of the delegation to make Pakistan’s case for being taken off the “Grey” list of countries of “jurisdictions under increased monitoring”, four years after it was brought back on the list in June 2018.

According to reports, China has also promised to support Pakistan.

According to Pakistani media, Hina Khar will be making a presentation to the FATF plenary, stating that Pakistan has completed all the 27 tasks that it was required to do.

“We have good hope for now. We believe that our progress is substantial and has been appreciated by various members. However, the actual decision will be taken in the meeting where a number of countries will comment on our progress. So let’s hope for the best,” The News quoted one top official as saying.

The FATF in its last plenary held in Paris in March, had stated that Pakistan had completed 26 of the 27 action items that it was required to do in its 2018 action plan.

However, the one remaining condition that it had not met was carrying out investigations in terror funding and prosecutions of senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups.

Pakistan has also met 6 of the 7 action plans that it was asked to follow in June 2021 related to money laundering, according to FATF.

Given its dire economic straits, it is little wonder Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court sentenced Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. His sentencing was meant to signal to international institutions the country is making a break with its dubious past.

But Saeed’s sentencing is a seasonal charade to avoid or postpone economic sanctions in case the FATF has not been satisfied with the country’s measures taken against terror funding and money laundering.

Last month, a UN Security Council-mandated monitoring team revealed that Pakistan-based anti-India terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is running eight training camps in Afghanistan and LeT has established 11 such camps after the Taliban takeover in August last year.

According to Pakistani watchers, after coming to power in April this year, the Sharif government has been trying to mend its relations with the US, UK, and EU countries and banking on them to come out of the “Grey” list which would be a great achievement.

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