Pakistan in its attempts to get out of the grey list of the ‘Financial Action Task Force’ (FATF), an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering, puts 88 new terrorists in its list and declared an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo in compliance with the U.N. Security Council’s designations.
Most wanted terrorists like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, etc. are on the list. But, the most striking is the name of Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of 1993 Mumbai Attacks as Pakistan has always denied it. While Pakistan has at various times brought restrictions on these terrorists, they have been for the short term.
“As of August 18, 2020, the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee has approved the entries specified below to its List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2368 (2018) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,” said the SRO numbered 741(I)/2020 issued by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) listed Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018 and asked Pakistan to implement a plan of action by the end of 2019. But the deadline was extended later due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decisions regarding the countries to be put under the two lists viz. ‘grey list’ and ‘blacklist’ of FATF are taken by the Presidency of FATF and the member countries. At present, FATF has 39 countries as its member including India, UK, the USA, Japan, Australia, China, Turkey, etc. but not Pakistan. Out of the member countries, China, Turkey and Malaysia are pro Pakistan and it is because of these member countries’ Pakistan is not yet in the blacklist of FATF. At present only two countries are on the blacklist of FATF viz. North Korea and Iran.
But, even being in the grey list causes a country to risk huge losses as the country faces various international sanctions which in some way or the other hinders the smooth functioning of its economy. Pakistan loses around $10 billion annually following the FATF’s grey list since 2018 as quoted by the Minister of External Affairs of Pakistan.
As Pakistan is already under huge debt and it has lost one of its big financers, Saudi Arabia recently. Now, Pakistan is left with no other option but to get out of the grey list of FATF to get any financial support. And the current sanctions on these 88 new terrorists are the conscious steps that Pakistan is taking to show its commitment towards this direction.