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Pakistan will be placed on FATF terror financing watch-list in June: FO

ISLAMABAD -UNS -Pakistan’s placement on a ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Foreign Office confirmed on Wednesday that in June the country is set to be added to the watch-list of countries where banned militant outfits have allegedly been raising funds.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing, FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal revealed that a decision to place Pakistan on the watchlist was taken at the FATF plenary held in Paris last week. He, however, ruled out the possibility that Pakistan could even be placed on the international watchdog’s blacklist over a lack of compliance.

An action plan to eradicate terrorist financing is being prepared and will accordingly be shared with the international body, he said.

“Pakistan will be assigned to the ‘grey list’ in June, once an action plan has been mutually negotiated,” the spokesman said, adding that Pakistan will cooperate with FATF in every possible way.

Dr Faisal said reports claiming that Pakistan will be transferred from the ‘grey list’ to the blacklist in June are not true as the FATF website clearly demarcates the countries in the blacklist as those which are non-cooperative with the body.

Editorial: Questions after the FATF debacle

In response to a question, the spokesman said the FATF has highlighted certain deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing regimes.

He said Pakistan has already taken steps to remove the deficiencies in these areas and cited the presidential ordinance that was quietly passed days before the FATF plenary to amend the anti-terror legislation in order to include all UN-listed individuals and groups in the national listings of proscribed outfits and persons.

“We will take further actions for addressing any remaining deficiencies,” Dr Faisal said.

All matters related to FATF will be dealt with by the finance ministry, the FO spokesman said, adding that he could not comment on FATF’s internal deliberations as they are confidential.

The 37-nation FATF plenary held its first meeting on Pakistan on February 20 where China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which was representing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), opposed the US-led move to place Pakistan on the watchlist. But the US pushed for an unprecedented second discussion on Pakistan, held on February 22.

By then, Washington had convinced Riyadh to give up its support to Pakistan in return for a full FATF membership. This left only two – China and Turkey – in the Pakistan camp, one less than the required number of three members to stall a move.

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