The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Joint Group (JG) held a virtual meeting today which discussed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-points action plan. Sources said Pakistan fought its case in the meeting. The recommendations of this meeting will decide if Pakistan stays on the grey list or manages to leave it.
The meeting was somewhat uncomfortable for Pakistan as India had successfully inducted Bhutan in the group. Bhutan was recently made part of the group upon India’s insistence, sources claim. Interestingly, Pakistan was not informed by any member-state, including China, about the Indian move. FATF Joint Group members now include US, UK, China, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, and Bhutan.
“India has managed to have Bhutan – an Indian ally – secure a place in the meeting which would evaluate Pakistan’s progress,” sources privy to the development said.
The Joint Group would be submitting its assessment on the implementation of the action plan to the International Cooperating Review Group of the FATF. This report will then be presented before the FATF plenary meeting, which will take place in the last week of February 2021.
In the last plenary meeting of the FATF, Pakistan was found compliant on 21 out of the 27 negotiated action plan pointers. While FATF-related legislation was subjected to immense criticism by the country’s opposition, the government, however, went ahead with the legislation, claiming it was a matter of national security.
Pakistan has demonstrated its ability to act against terror-linked elements and convict United Nations designated individuals, including Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Yahya Mujahid, Abdur Rehman Makki and others. Recently an Anti-Terror Court also issued arrest warrants for Masood Azhar.
Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly reiterated it would not tolerate any terror-related individuals to use its territory for their ill-gains.
In the past, India has twice tried to get Pakistan blacklisted, however both times, due to Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts India’s proposal was shot down. Pakistan has been in the FATF’s grey list since June 2018.