Friday, December 4, 2020

Terror-state Pakistan likely to remain in FATF ‘grey list’ as it fails to act against Islamic terrorist groups

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— Consider reading the article Terror-state Pakistan likely to remain in FATF ‘grey list’ as it fails to act against Islamic terrorist groups on OpIndia website —

Pakistan is likely to continue in the Financial Action Task Forces (FATF) ‘grey list’ as it has yet again failed to comply with the global watchdog’s action plan.

Reportedly, the terror-state has failed to comply 6 out of 27 points in FATF’s action plan. Pakistan is unlikely to come out of the list till June next year, according to experts. Pakistan’s failure to act against all UN-designated terrorists like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Seed and the outfit’s operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi will be the reason for its retention in the FATF’s ‘grey list’.

According to the reports, the global watchdog against money-laundering and terror financing – Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will begin a three-day virtual plenary meeting on Wednesday which will decide on the fate of Pakistan with regards to the country’s continuation on the ‘grey list’.

The FATF’s Asia Pacific Group (APG) plenary session which is scheduled to take place from October 21 will evaluate on steps taken by the terror-state of Pakistan to crack down on fund-raising by the Islamic terror groups. FATF will also review it’s ‘blacklist’ and ‘grey list’, the lists that classify countries based on the higher risk of enabling money laundering and terrorism financing.

The four nominating countries the United States, Britain, France and Germany are not satisfied with Pakistan’s commitment to taking strong action against the terror groups operating from its soil.

The multilateral watchdog had put Pakistan on its list of “jurisdictions under increased monitoring” or the ‘grey list’ in 2018 for not doing enough to curb financial activities of terror groups. 

Currently, Pakistan, along with 17 other countries are in the ‘grey list’, the countries that represent a much higher risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are on the ‘blacklist’.

Pakistan not complying to FATF’s anti-terror financing rules

Earlier in February, the global watchdog FATF had retained Pakistan in the ‘grey list’. The FATF subgroup International Cooperation Review Group had recommended retaining Pakistan in the list citing that Pakistan failed to take appropriate action against terror financers. In the earlier plenary session, the ICRG noted that the Islamic country had addressed only 14 points out of 27 conditions to get out of the ‘grey list’, which is considered unsatisfactory.

Last month,the Asia Pacific Group (APG) had concluded that Pakistan had only fully complied with only two out of 40 recommendations to curb money laundering and terror financing. The APG had said that the abuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs) and registered charities by groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba as a “significant threat”.

In October 2019, the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had published its annual report (Mutual Evaluation report of Pakistan) which stated, “With the exception of some recent actions discussed in detail below, Pakistan has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against all listed individuals and entities – especially those associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as well as the groups’ leader Hafiz Saeed.”

Pakistan removes names of terrorists from watchlist to evade the scrutiny

Earlier in April, a New York-based Artificial Intelligence startup had revealed that Pakistan has silently removed the names of almost 4,000 terrorists from its terror watchlist. The removed named include LeT leader and Mumbai attack mastermind Zakir ur Rehman Lakhvi and many others.

The Artificial Intelligence startup Castellum has revealed quoting Financial Action task Force that in October 2018 the country’s terror watchlist had 7,600 names. As the work of AI is to add new data sources, it noted that between March 9 and 27 data showed that Pakistan removed 1,069 names from the Proscribed person List and all those names appeared on the country’s denotified list.

After 27 March, 800 names were also removed and eventually 3800 names have been placed in the denotified list till so far without any explanation or notification to the public. Several of the names removed are the aliases of designated terrorists listed by the US or the United Nations. 

Interestingly, ahead of this year’s plenary session, FATF has strongly noted that the sudden disappearance of the names of more than 4,000 terrorists from its original list of 7,600 under Schedule IV of its Anti-Terrorism Act.

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