Wednesday 3 April 2019 3:17 AM UTC
LAHORE April 3: Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force due to “lobbying by India”, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said as he estimated that the country could suffer $10 billion in losses annually if it remains in the terror financing watchdog’s grey list.
In June last year, the Paris-based FATF had placed Pakistan on the “grey list” of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle money-laundering and terror financing.
The FATF has told Pakistan to reassess the operation of terrorist groups in the country, already under intense international pressure to rein in terror groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) after the Pulwama terror attack.
“The Foreign Office is calculating the annual loss if Pakistan is pushed in the black-list by the FATF as India is lobbying for this,” Foreign Minister Qureshi told reporters in Lahore on Monday. He said the government has calculated that Pakistan will face $10 billion loss annually if it remains in the “grey list”.
A group of experts from the FATF visited Pakistan last month to review whether Islamabad has made enough progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the grey list.
A delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the FATF, expressed serious reservations over insufficient action on ground against terror groups to block flow of funds and activities.
The team members reportedly raised questions over specific and on-ground actions against each of the eight terror groups proscribed under international requirements. It wanted break-up of suspected transaction report against each terror group and specific actions taken against each entity.
The team members said that activities of the terror groups and related non-profit organisations are still unchecked at the provincial, district and grass roots level where they can still raise funds and hold meetings and rallies.
The FATF noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment but did not demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by the ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), Falah-i-Insaniat (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Haqqani Network and people affiliated with the Taliban.
The next FATF review would take place in June in Washington and before that Pakistan will have to show compliance on 16 points that have been agreed for May in addition to three issues that were left out in the last review.
India on Friday last summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner in New Delhi and conveyed concerns over the presence of a leading Khalistani terrorist in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor project.
India has long maintained that Pakistan must end giving shelter to terror groups on its soil. Masood Azhar, chief of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, is in Pakistan; the group had claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
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