As of now, we all must be well aware of Pakistan being placed in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force, more popular among the people as FATF, which is the watchdog over the global terror financing as well as the money laundering. Pakistan was actually placed in the FATF grey list back in June 2018, besides this FATF provided the country with the 27 points action plan, and also decided to review the actual implementation of this action point plan by October 2019 but as on reviewing they couldn’t see any proper implementation made by the government of Pakistan so they decided to continue it in the grey list.
And again in February 2020, any other meeting of FATF is being held in Paris. In this meeting, the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG), which is the sub-group of the FATF had again evaluated all the performance taking into consideration all the steps taken by Pakistan for ensuring the proper implementation of the action plan given to it by FATF. This time FATF is being chaired by China currently.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
There was the fear that in the last month’s FATF meeting, Pakistan would be further moved into the blacklist of FATF along with Iran and North Korea. But it actually managed to save itself from the blacklist by securing the support and also the votes of the countries mainly China, Turkey, and Malaysia.
But this time something really unexpected happened in the session of FATF, where China every now and then saved Pakistan, this time something completely opposite was seen in the meeting of FATF, where now China had shown the major shift from its position.
In this latest session of FATF, we could see the very significant development, where now we see that even China, as well as Saudi Arabia, had also joined hands with India, US, and also the European countries for sending a steadfast as well as a hoarse message to Pakistan, and also for exerting greater pressure on it for fulfilling all the commitments made by it against the terror financing and the money laundering back in the plenary session of June, which also included the conviction as well as the prosecution of all those top leaders who are heading all the terrorist organizations in Pakistan.
As per the information received from the diplomatic sources this time Turkey was the one single country which stood out in support of Pakistan in FATF, and it was for this time that China which usually backed Pakistan, changed its stance this time.
This major switch which we can see in China’s stance for Pakistan was not sudden but it was due to the common concerns and common threats of both China as well as India, over which the leaders of both the countries, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi respectively, had greater discussions at the time of their informal summit which was held in Mahabalipuram, in the city located in the Tamil Nadu state of India, last year in September. It was during this summit that both the leaders were “concerned that terrorism continues to pose a common threat”. “As countries that are large and diverse, (we recognize) the importance of continuing to make joint efforts to ensure that the international community strengthens the framework against training, financing (of) terrorist groups throughout the world and on a non-discriminatory basis,” Modi and Xi had said in a statement.
In this meeting of FATF now we are sighting that despite making the plenty of efforts from its side, yet Pakistan hasn’t been successful in implementing all the points of the FATF action plan, and has also been inefficient in combating the grave threats like terror financing as well as money laundering. So now it is the complete responsibility as well as the very duty of Pakistan to ensure that it must take all the appropriate and all the adequate measures on the FATF parameters if it wants to avoid being blacklisted in the near future. And it has to take all the necessary actions on the 13 action plan items by June 2020.
This transition shows that now all the countries (except Turkey) had actually come together in this fight against money laundering and terror financing and this was the way of sending the stern message to Pakistan for exerting greater pressure on it, else it will definitely face the adverse consequences which may follow.
Ahead of the FATF’s plenary session, a sub-group tasked to review Pakistan’s case has recommended that Islamabad should continue to be in the “grey list” for its failure to check terror funding. It has stopped short of recommending the country for the blacklist.