Pakistan unlikely to exit from FATF's grey list

Pakistan unlikely to exit from FATF's grey list
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Islamabad, Pakistan: While the Pakistan government believes that it will be able to delist itself from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) "grey list", it is unlikely that it will be able to do so as the European nations have said that Islamabad has not fully implemented all the points of a plan of action set by it.

Dawn quoted a Pakistani journalist based in Paris as confirming that some European countries, especially the host France, had recommended to FATF to continue to keep Pakistan on the "grey list" and had taken the position that not all points had been fully implemented by Islamabad.

The stance has been supported by other European countries as well. It is expected that Islamabad will not get support from the United States as well because of the recent acquittal of Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of the accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case. The Pakistani journalist further pointed that the US may "lobby for the continuation of Islamabad on the 'grey list' at least until June this year".

The virtual FATF plenary will be held in Paris from February 22 to 25 to consider cases of various countries on the grey list, including Pakistan, and the decision will be made at the conclusion of the meetings, Dawn reported.

Citing the reason for France's anti-Pakistan stance, the scribe said that Paris was not happy with the recent response of Islamabad on the cartoon issue. The relations between France and Pakistan had worsened last year when an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher who had shown pupils cartoons of the prophet in a civics lesson on freedom of speech. French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Paty, calling him a "quiet hero" dedicated to instilling the democratic values of the French Republic in his pupils.

In a subsequent terror attack, a knife-wielding attacker killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice on October 29. Following the brutal religiously-motivated attacks, Macron vowed to ramp up the fight against radical Islamism and terrorism.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan hypocritically attacked the French President, saying that he had "chosen to deliberately provoke Muslims". Pakistan has not even posted a regular ambassador in Paris.

In October, the FATF decided that Pakistan will continue to be on its grey list and asked it to continue to work on implementing an action plan to address its strategic deficiencies including demonstrating that its law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of terrorist financing activity and demonstrating that prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.

Pakistan has been on the FATF's grey list since June 2018 and the government was given a final warning in February 2020 to complete the 27 action points by June in the same year. Pakistan is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. As things stand, Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.