The global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering, FATF, is likely to free Pakistan from its inglorious "grey list" on Friday, allowing the country to try to get foreign funds for tiding over its precarious financial situation.
The move may come more than four years after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Pakistan on its "grey list" for its failure to check the risk of money laundering, leading to corruption and terror financing.
The FATF had found Pakistan's deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigation, prosecution, judicial and non-government sectors to fight money laundering and combat terror financing, which are considered serious threats to the global financial system.
Till June, Pakistan had completed most of the action items given to it by the FATF in 2018 and only a few items that were left unfulfilled included its failure to take action against UN-designated terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and his trusted aide and the group's "operational commander", Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
Azhar, Saeed and Lakhvi are most-wanted terrorists in India for their involvement in numerous terror acts, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the bombing of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama in 2019.
The Paris-based global watchdog on money laundering and terror financing had recently said the "first FATF Plenary under the two-year Singapore presidency of T Raja Kumar will take place on October 20-21" in Paris.
Pakistan had made high-level political commitments to address these deficiencies under a 27-point action plan. Subsequently, the number of action points was enhanced to 34.
With Pakistan's continuation on the "grey list", it had increasingly become difficult for Islamabad to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union (EU), thus further enhancing problems for the cash-strapped country
Pakistan needs 12 votes out of 39 to exit the "grey list" and move to the "white list". To avoid the "black list", it needs the support of three countries.
China, Turkey and Malaysia are its consistent supporters.
Pakistan was placed on the "grey list" by the FATF in June 2018 and given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019. Since then, the country has been on the list due to its failure to comply with the FATF mandates.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
It currently has 39 members, including two regional organisations -- the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council
India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group. PTI ACB RC