NEW DELHI: A team from the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering arrived in Pakistan Monday to discuss progress of the 27 targets set out by the Financial Action Task Force, which monitors terror-funding and money laundering.
The APG is an FATF affiliate, and its report will influence the FATF’s decision on whether Pakistan remains on its grey list or moved to the black list, which would make it difficult for Islamabad to receive foreign financial aid or investments.
In February, the FATF had decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list, noting that while it had revised its terror financing risk assessment, it did “not demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by Islamic State group, AQ (Al Qaeda), JuD, FiF, LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), JeM, HQN (Haqqani network), and persons affiliated with the Taliban,” and urged it to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019, when they would be reviewed.
Following the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad’s suicide attack on a CRPF convoy on February 14, India had vowed to exert economic, political and international diplomatic pressure on Pakistan until it took tangible, verifiable, and long-term action against terrorists and their proxies on its soil.
As part of this, New Delhi would map Pakistan’s actions on the FATF blueprint “line by line” to ensure that it did not get away with “temporary measures like it has done several times before,” senior sources said.
Pakistan used that threat to demand that the APG joint group remove its co-chair, India’s Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) director general Pankaj Mishra, to ensure a “fair, unbiased and objective” assessment
According to report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, “the APG assessment team would meet officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Election Commission of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, National Counter Terrorism Authority, law enforcement agencies and counter terrorism departments.”
If the APG team, which will be in Islamabad till Thursday, is satisfied that Pakistan has complied with the Financial Action Task Force demands, it will ask for it to be moved from the Grey list. If not, Pakistan will be moved to the black list by September.
Pakistan has written to FATF chief to appoint any other member as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific’s Joint Group, in place of India, to ensure that the FATF review process is fair, unbiased and objective