- With only months left to comply
After missing two deadlines to comply with FATF conditions, Pakistan has now been given a final extension till October of this year to address its terror financing deficiencies or face action, possibly being placed on the monitoring body’s dreaded blacklist. That is not to say that Pakistan has not paid any heed to FATF’s warnings. One of the most notable actions, albeit delayed, was proscribing organisations such as Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD), and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). For too long these groups and their leadership had been allowed to run their affairs undeterred, resulting in Pakistan consistently being blamed for sponsoring attacks carried out by the groups in question. Perceived by certain quarters as assets providing another layer of security against so-called regional threats, they have become a very costly liability. The FATF perhaps requires more than just seizure of properties owned by JuD and JeM and their leadership being arrested– to be released later– under the Maintenance of Public Order rather than the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Pakistan also has to understand that its overreliance on allies to block its blacklisting is not a sustainable strategy. China okayed JeM chief Masood Azhar’s placement on UN’s Global Terrorist List after blocking it for several years. It was simply a case of looking after one’s self-interest and a similar calculated decision with regards to the FATF review could be taken as well with other countries following suit. India has been pushing for Pakistan’s placement on the blacklist for a while and the former is in a commanding position to achieve that as a co-chair of the FATF with the support the USA, the UK and the EU. What stands out most in the FATF’s observations is that Pakistan needs to demonstrate that the actions it is taking are effective in complying with AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism), meaning cosmetic measures will no longer suffice. With a little over four months left to satisfactorily improve on 18 out of the 27 indicators where it is lacking, the PTI government faces an uphill task where it will need to pull out all the stops, no questions asked!