Stage set for key FATF deliberations on Pak’s actions on terror funding

NEW DELHI: Stage is set for the last session of the week-long meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris on Friday and thus all eyes will be on the decision of the plenary as India has made a strong case against Pakistan for its non-compliance in curbing terror funding.

During last one week since February 14 terror attack at Pulwama, India has upped its ante against Pakistan on diplomatic front seeking international approval to its move to ‘isolate’ Pakistan and mount pressure on authorities in Islamabad to act against terror groups including Masood Azhar-run JeM.

Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility of the attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

In a major boost to India’s diplomatic efforts, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has backed India and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, “to cooperate actively with the Government of India and all other relevant authorities” in the fight against terror.

Pakistan is already on the FATF’s ‘grey list’ and India during last one week submitted dossiers to it trying to ensure that the international anti-terror financing body comes issues sanctions on Pakistan.

In a move seen as an attempt to placate the FATF, the Imran Khan regime in Islamabad on Thursday ‘reinstated’ its ban on Hafeez Saeed-led Jama’at-ud-Da’wah.

The JuD is a front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terror group which had carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed.

The Pakistan government has also decided to ban JuD’s charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

The FATF can ‘blacklist’ Pakistan if convinced of its role in the Pulwama attack and that would
essentially mean taking a crucial step what “may lead to downgrading” of Pakistan by global lenders such as IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Union.

The FATF is holding Plenary and Working Group meetings in from Sunday. The deliberations would continue till February 22.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.

The cash-strapped Pakistan is seeking its 13th bailout since the late 1980s.

The central bank in Pakistan reportedly has only $ 8 bn left in foreign reserves and faces a balance of payments crisis.

Since August 2018 after former cricketer Imran Khan took over the reigns of power, Pakistan has been looking for ‘help’ from friendly countries in order to reduce the size of the bail-out package that Pakistan will likely need from the International Monetary Fund.

Addressing a function at Jhansi in UP last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said Pakistan is moving around with ‘begging bowl’ but the help from international community is not coming so easily.

In the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack, Ministry of External Affairs has taken a series of steps including demarche to Pak envoy, condemnation of Pakistan’s role including approaching the FATF.