China blocks consensus at FATF on US proposal to grey-list Pakistan

China blocks consensus at FATF on US proposal to grey-list Pakistan

China again bailed out Pakistan, which was close to being put on a watch-list by an international organisation for its failure to curb flow of funds to terrorists.

Pakistan got a reprieve from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organisation coordinating global efforts to combat money laundering and terror financing, which failed to reach a consensus on a proposal for "grey-listing" the country for its lack of adequate measures to squeeze flow of funds to terrorists. The FATF, which commenced its plenary in Paris last Sunday, deferred its decision on the proposal for three more months and asked for another report on the measures initiated by Pakistan government to make its legal regime and law-enforcing machinery more effective to curb flow of funds to terrorist outfits.

Sources in New Delhi told DH that China had played a key role in blocking consensus at the FATF plenary on the US-sponsored proposal for "grey-listing" Pakistan.

China has bailed out Pakistan in international forums in the past, particularly whenever its "all-weather friend" came under global pressure for either failing to deny sanctuaries and safe havens to terrorist leaders or not doing enough to stop flow of funds and weapons to terror networks.

Beijing in the past shielded several anti-India terrorist leaders based in Pakistan from United Nations' sanctions, including Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

When the US-sponsored proposal to grey-list Pakistan came up for discussion at the FATF, Islamabad's representatives led by the country's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's financial advisor Miftah Ismail argued that it had promulgated an ordinance amending a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The amendment was intended to enable the authorities to act against the terrorists and terror organisations proscribed by the United Nations Security Council, including to empower the authorities to seal their offices and freeze their bank accounts, the representatives of Pakistan government pointed out.

China and Turkey also supported Pakistan.

India, the US and several other countries, however, maintained that whatever Pakistan had done recently was not enough to make its legal regime more effective to detect and stop flow of funds to terror networks.

Russia, too, purportedly argued that the FATF must take note of Pakistan's recent initiatives to strengthen its measures to detect and check flow of funds to terrorists.

Pakistan was on the FATF grey-list from 2009 to 2015.

New Delhi played a key role in bringing it to the notice of the FATF's International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) last year that Pakistan had not yet done enough to implement the United Nations Security Council's 1267th resolution and to prevent the individuals and entities proscribed by the international organisation from receiving illicit fund. The FATF subsequently called upon Pakistan to report on the action being taken to curb terror financing, especially in respect of proscribed entities and individuals.