India will push to blacklist Pakistan over terrorism funding at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting, following the attack in Pulwama last week, as part of a number of economic punitive measures it’s taking against the neighbouring country. Pakistan is currently on the FATF grey list. The meeting is taking place on February 17-22 in Paris.
The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has said it’s responsible for the attack that killed more than 40 CRPF jawans. Being put on the black list will further hit Pakistan’s struggling economy.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list in June 2018 and put on notice to be blacklisted by October 2019 if it did not curb money laundering and terror financing. The FATF meet will review the measures taken by Pakistan in this regard, said people with knowledge of the matter.
India will also impress upon the European Commission the need to act on its proposal to blacklist Pakistan. The commission typically does that to countries on the FATF grey list.
Meanwhile, Delhi received widespread support on the issue of Pakistan’s role in cross-border terror attacks on Indian soil, including the Pulwama strike, at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) and in various meetings on the sidelines of the key annual conclave in the German city. Deputy national security adviser Pankaj Saran attended the 55th MSC on February 15-17. Saran held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of MSC with delegates from Germany, the US, Russia, NATO, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Armenia, Mongolia and Oman.
“The attack was unequivocally condemned, and there was widespread support for India’s concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism on Indian soil,” said one of several persons with knowledge of the matter.
The FATF added Pakistan to the grey list in June 2018, putting it on a 15-month action plan that gave it until October 2019 to prove it was taking steps to curb terror financing. It was also given a 27-point action plan that was to be implemented by September 2019.
Pakistan’s progress on the 27 points is being monitored by the FATF Asia-Pacific sub-group. The latter’s last review meeting took place on January 8-10 with Pakistani authorities in Sydney and its report will be submitted at the plenary session.
At the Sydney meeting, India had raised 28 queries on the measures by Pakistan and suggested that it makes public the action taken to curb finances of terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and JeM.
Following grey listing, three reviews are conducted, followed by a round at which it will be decided whether a country is to be blacklisted. Pakistan’s first review was in October 2018 and the third will be in June 2019. The meeting on blacklisting will take place in October 2019.
The current chair of FATF is the US and the vice president is China, which did not oppose Pakistan being placed on the grey list.
Pakistan has finalised a functional strategy for the FATF meeting, with a delegation led by its finance secretary. The National Counter Terrorism Authority director general and other top officials from the Financial Monitoring Unit of State Bank will be part of the delegation.
FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the ministers of its member jurisdictions. Its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
The FATF comprises 36 countries and two regional organisations.