FATF’s decision to retain Pakistan on grey list raises eyebrows

Published June 25, 2021
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018. — File/FATFNews Twitter
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018. — File/FATFNews Twitter

The FATF announced on Friday that Pakistan had largely complied with 26 of the 27 items on the action plan agreed to in June 2018, but the country will continue to remain on the "increased monitoring list" – also known as the grey list – even after it addresses the sole remaining item.

That is because the global financial watchdog slapped a new list of six action items on Pakistan which it said were identified by its regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group (APG), in 2019.

The watchdog's president said that for Pakistan to be delisted, it will have to largely address all items on the new action plan in addition to the only remaining item on the original plan.

Reacting to the development, a number of senior journalists, politicians and activists took to Twitter, expressing surprise on the FATF's decision and also raising doubts on the integrity of the financial watchdog.

Senior journalist Mubashir Zaidi questioned what the point of keeping Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ was when it had already implemented 26 of the 27 action plan items given by the FATF.

Jamaat-i-Islami Central Vice President Mian Aslam sniffed a global conspiracy behind the FATF decision and asked the Pakistan [government] to not surrender its freedom.

Analyst Jan Achakzai also condemned the decision of the FATF, calling the body a “tool weaponised against Pakistan”.

Senior journalist Zarrar Khuhro also cast doubt on the FATF’s integrity, saying it was "a tool of geopolitical pressure".

The official Twitter account of former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf said FATF was being used to “blackmail” Pakistan.

Another user said the FATF’s credibility was on the line for ignoring Pakistan’s commitment and compliance with the task force targets.

Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.

Until the last assessment, Pakistan was found deficient in acting against organisations allegedly linked to terror groups listed by the UN Security Council, prosecuting and convicting banned individuals and tackling smuggling of narcotics and precious stones.

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