WASHINGTON: Pakistan has pulled its ignominious FATF status out of the fire. After four years of global infamy of being grey-listed for its failure to check terror financing, Islamabad worked its way out of the list with a series of measures that was recognised by the the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog.
“Pakistan has strengthened the effectiveness of its Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing Terror regime and addressed technical deficiencies to meet the commitments of its action plans regarding strategic deficiencies that the FATF identified in June 2018 and June 2021… (it) is therefore, no longer subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process,” FATF said in a statement on Friday, adding that the country would continue to work with the Asia-Pacific Group to further improve its AML/CFT system.
The reprieve for Pakistan came during FATF’s stewardship by T.Raja Kumar, a Singaporean home ministry official who took over the watchdog’s leadership in July. Kumar said Pakistan had taken steps to “strengthen risk-based supervision of financial and non-financial institutions, improve asset confiscation outcomes, and investigate and prosecute money laundering” as a result of which it has been removed from the increased monitoring list.
Simply put, Pakistan cut off conspicuous bankrolling of the terror groups it has long nurtured for its policy of waging indirect war against India, a strategy that also affected other countries in the region and across the world at its jihad got out of hand. Many Pakistani public intellectuals and even some of its politicians tired of the policy and urged its establishment to change course as the country’s economic prospects suffered.
It also took legislative measures to meet FATF conditionalities, including passing a Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Amendment Bill — dubbed the FATF bill — which will enable the global community to obtain cooperation in criminal matters through mutual legal assistance and extradition where required.
New Delhi remains skeptical about Pakistan’s bonafides in this regard given Islamabad’s dogged refusal to acknowledge the presence of Dawood Ibrahim, and its reluctance to prosecute the perpetrators of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai.
Pakistan-based terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), led by 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, maintain their training camps in some provinces of Afghanistan and some of them are directly under the Taliban control, according to a UN report.
A recent UN report suggested that some Pakistani terror groups like Jaish E Mohammed had shifted its camps to Afghanistan where it finds greater congeniality under the Taliban regime, which is backed by the Pakistani establishment.