Halt terror funds in 4 months: FATF to Pakistan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (PTI photo)

China may have saved Pakistan from being placed on the “blacklist” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for now, but the inter-governmental organisation has warned Imran Khan’s government of strong action if it fails to stop the flow of funds to terrorist organisations within four months.

The FATF, an inter-governmental organisation coordinating global efforts to stop terrorist organisations from receiving funds, on Friday set February 2020 as the deadline for Pakistan to tighten legal framework to curb money laundering and squeeze flow of funds to terrorist outfits.

If Pakistan fails, the FATF said it would take severe action, including calling on financial institutions of other nations to be cautious while dealing with counterparts in Pakistan.

Concluding its plenary in Paris on Friday, the FATF “strongly” urged Pakistan to “swiftly complete” its full action plan to plug the loopholes by February 2020.

“Otherwise,” it warned, “should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their Fis (financial institutions) to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan”.

“Pakistan needs to do more and it needs to do it faster,” FATF President Xiangmin Liu said. 

The FATF expressed “serious concerns” with the “overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its TF (terror financing) risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risks and, more broadly, Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed time-lines and in light of the TF risks emanating from the jurisdiction”.

The FATF also noted that Pakistan had only largely addressed five of the 27 items on the action plan, with varying levels of progress made on the rest.

India, the US, France argued in favour of putting Pakistan on the “blacklist”.

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