International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG), a part of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is scheduled to take the Pakistan issue today to evaluate whether the south Asian nation has taken sufficient steps and implemented its plan of action to fight the global menace.
Pakistan will be submitting a report on action regarding the implementation of the watchdog’s plan of action during the Paris meeting. More than 800 representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions around the world including the IMF, UN, World Bank, and other organisations, will take part in the meeting.
The FATF, a global terror financing watchdog, in 2018 placed Pakistan on the grey list and the watchdog has already granted Islamabad an extension till February 2020 during a meeting in October last year.
The FATF’s Asia-Pacific Group’s meeting, which took place in Beijing last year in October, analyzed Pakistan’s situation from a technical point of view. China, who took over as the chair of the inter-governmental organisation since July 2019, expressed satisfaction over the “visible progress” made by Islamabad, leading to speculations that it could be put in a “white” list from “grey” list, according to Pakistan media reports.
The body warned that Islamabad would be put on the blacklist if it did not comply with the remaining 22 out of 27 points related to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.
This time, the watchdog will be issuing a decision on whether Pakistan has taken sufficient steps to avoid being “blacklisted.” If blacklisted, Pakistan would face isolation from the international banking system, introducing stricter checks and safeguards on transactions involving the country.
The progress of a FATF initiative to combat financial flows from the illegal wildlife trade, adopting guidance on digital identity, and developments in the financing of ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and affiliates are some of the issues to be discussed during the meeting.
Defense experts in New Delhi on Saturday noted that the recent sentencing of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, just days ahead of the FATF meeting in Paris is just an eyewash to delude the international community and that the Mumbai terror attacks mastermind will be released shortly after the watchdog announces its decision.
Last year, under pressure after the FATF review, Pakistan formally banned Saeed’s JuD and other associated organizations, after years of allowing them to operate freely across the country.