"Pressure Is On Pak": Army Chief On Terror Funding Watchdog FATF's Move

New Delhi: 

To be on the "grey list" of global terror funding watchdog FATF is a "setback for any nation", Army chief General Bipin Rawat said today, a day after the Paris-based agency said the possibility of a formal black-listing of Pakistan in February 2020 is now "highly probable".

Pakistan will remain in the "grey list" of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after it was given a fresh deadline of February next year to act against terror funding. Islamabad got four months' time after it was warned of action by the FATF if it fails to complete its full action plan.

"The pressure is on them to deliver and they have to take action. It is up to them how much seriously they take it. We would only like them to follow its (FATF) directions and work towards restoring peace. To be on such a 'grey list' is a setback for any nation," General Bipin Rawat told news agency ANI.

The FATF will take a final decision on Pakistan's position in February next year.

"Pakistan needs to do more and faster. If by February 2020, Pakistan doesn't make significant progress, it will be put in the ''black list''," FATF president Xiangmin Liu said while addressing a press conference on the last day of its five-day plenary in Paris.

Islamabad is currently in the "grey list" of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.

The FATF noted that Pakistan was able to address only five out of 27 actionable items to rein in terror funding, according to Indian officials attending the meet in Paris. The terror funding watchdog said there was as consensus on retaining Pakistan in the grey list based on its poor performance on the 27-point Action Plan, according to officials.

The meeting was attended by representatives from 205 countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations, the World Bank and other organisations. China, Turkey and Malaysia had reportedly supported Pakistan at the FAFT meeting. A country needs the support of at least three other countries to avoid being black-listed.

India and several other member countries of the FATF have charged Pakistan with failing to take concrete action against Hafiz Saeed, Maula Masood Azhar and other UN-designated terrorists, pointing out that its anti-terror law still remains out of sync with standards set by the international body.

Iran and North Korea are the only countries on the blacklist so far.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related problems that are a threat to the integrity of the international financial system.

Pakistan was placed on the "grey list" by the FATF in June last year and was asked to complete a plan of action by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist.

If Pakistan continues to remain on the ''grey list'', it would be very difficult for the country to get any financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, making its financial condition even more precarious.

Islamabad is obligated to report its performance to the group every three months.

(With inputs from ANI)

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