See More on Facebook

News

Global financial watchdog grey lists Pakistan

Financial Action Task Force grey lists Pakistan, India welcomes move, China defends ally for efforts taken to curb terrorism.


Written by

Updated: July 2, 2018

India has welcomed the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to place Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ for not doing enough to counter terror financing, even as China has bestowed praise on its close ally for efforts in combating terrorism.

The decision was taken by the FATF Plenary that met in Paris between June 24 and 29 after reviewing the monitoring report of the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). Pakistan’s caretaker finance minister Shamshad Akhtar attended the meeting with a delegation.

FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF had earlier put Pakistan on its grey list between 2012 and 2015.

The global financial watchdog grey listed Pakistan despite Islamabad reportedly showing progress in a majority of areas identified as threats and also placing before the FATF a 26-point action plan that it will take forward over the next 15 months.

India’s Reaction

“India welcomes the decision of FATF to place Pakistan in its Compliance Document (Grey list) for ICRG monitoring,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. The ministry also slammed Pakistan over the presence of terrorists like 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Pakistan-based terror groups.

“We hope that the FATF Action plan shall be complied within a time-bound manner and credible measures would be taken by Pakistan to address global concerns related to terrorism emanating from any territory under its control,” the ministry said.

Pakistan is the ninth country to be placed on the Paris-based FATF’s ‘grey list’. The other eight being Ethiopia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen, a PTI report said.

The placement of Pakistan on the grey list may hurt Pakistan’s economy as well as its international standing.

China’s Reaction

China declined to comment on Pakistan being placed on the grey list for failing to curb anti-terror financing by FATF, but heaped praise on its close ally, saying the world should recognise “enormous efforts and sacrifices” made by Islamabad to combat terrorism, PTI reported.

“We will not make comment on the decision of the task force. But we understand Pakistan has made enormous efforts for the counter-terrorism and made great sacrifices,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a media briefing in Beijing when asked about the FATF’s decision.

“The international community should view this in an objective and just way. The international community should give more support and recognition to Pakistan,” he said.

139 entries from Pakistan

The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) consolidated list of terrorist individuals and entities with links to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State includes a record 139 entries from Pakistan.

The list, which includes a total of 257 individuals and 82 entities, includes such top terrorists as Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed.

Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s heir apparent, is among the most wanted terrorists on the list. The UNSC data shows he is still hiding somewhere “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area”.

Ramzi Mohammad bin al-Sheibah, a Yemeni national, comes second.

The list also includes Indian mob boss Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, who according to the UNSC, has held several Pakistani passports issued in Rawalpindi and Karachi.

Ibrahim, 62, is wanted in India for masterminding the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. He is accused of match-fixing and extortion too. He is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, which the list updated on March 29 points to.

LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s (JuD) Hafiz Saeed finds a mention on the list. He is wanted by Interpol, according to UNSC. Haji Mohammed Yahya Mujahid, LeT’s spokesman, and Hafiz Saeed’s deputies, Abdul Salaam and Zafar Iqbal, have also been listed. Like Saeed, they are all wanted by Interpol.

LeT and its various fronts – al-Mansoorian, Paasban-i-Kashmir, Paasban-i-Ahle Hadith, Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation – are on the sanctions list.

The US has offered a bounty of US$10 million for information leading to Saeed’s arrest.

Pakistan Lifts Ban

Hours before being placed on ‘grey list’ by FATF, Pakistan lifted a ban on a Sunni extremist outfit and unblocked assets of its chief.

Pakistan’s National Counter-Terrorism Authority issued a notification to lift the ban on Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and unfreeze the assets of its chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, Pakistan media reported.

Ludhianvi is the chief of ASWJ, a banned sectarian extremist group, formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba. He became the group’s chief after the killing of his predecessor Ali Sher Haidri in a 2009 ambush.

In 1990s, the Sipah-e-Sahaba was actively involved in a number of high profile attacks on scholars, mosques and gatherings of the minority Shia community. The groups was banned by the military dictator General Pervez Musharraf in 2002. The group reemerged under the name of ASWJ.

Pakistan on Watch

As the 37-member FATF began assessing Pakistan’s action plan that will be implemented over a period of 15 months beginning next January, the country’s delegation highlighted the steps taken by Islamabad to curb money laundering and terror financing.

Though some reports suggested Pakistan had tried to avert its inclusion in the grey list, sources said a decision in this regard had already been taken during the FATF’s plenary meeting in February. The FATF had only been waiting for Pakistan’s action plan before going ahead with the listing.

Following the decision at the February plenary meeting, Pakistan was asked to prepare an action plan to address the watchdog’s concerns. The plan was completed following negotiations between Pakistan and FATF members.

A US State Depart­ment spokesperson told Dawn: “We are pleased that Pakistan has made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF to address weaknesses in its counterterrorism financing (CFT) regime.”

Islamabad will have to deliver on the first goal under the action plan by next January and complete all 26 actions by September 2019.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

Taiwan: 720,000 people registered for purchasing face masks online

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that more than 722,000 people — 600,000 using the NHI app and 122,000 more using the Emask system — had successfully registered for purchasing face masks as of 1 p.m. Asked about people who have reportedly tried to register again, CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung called on the public to stop, stressing that authorities are committed to providing a set of face masks to each user prior to March 18, the official deadline for registration. Regarding some reported phone scams on payment requirements for face masks, Chen asked users to remain vigilant. Access is limited to Taiwan residents who need to register their NHI number, obtain proper digital certification and downloa


By Asia News Network
March 13, 2020

News

Covid-19 outbreak will continue for a year or longer; more stringent measures may need to be put in place, says PM Lee

 In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The Covid-19 outbreak will continue for some time – a year, and maybe longer – said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his second national address on the situation on Thursday (March 12). But if Singaporeans keep up their guard and take practical precautions, the country will be able to keep its economy going and people will be able to carry on with their daily lives, he said. In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The disease outbreak response level will not be stepped up to red, the highest level, he said. It is c


By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020

News

Foreigners play their part in Shanghai’s epidemic prevention

 Expat volunteers have been active in helping the city overcome the COVID-19 outbreak. Twelve foreign residents in Shanghai have joined a volunteer team to help with the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control. Located in Minhang district, the team was established on Feb 10 by the Jinfeng International Community Development Association, which aims to promote the development of Huacao town and the Jinfeng International Community by organising themed activities and public welfare events. Pakistani Amir Shafiq Khan joined the team to give back. “It’s easy to run away to another country, but I felt that my family and I should contribute to China in this difficult time as it has always offered opportunities to us,” says Khan, who has lived in


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

News

Asian stock markets take cue from US to hit fresh lows

ST Index careens into bear territory for the first time since January 2016 Many stock markets across Asia, including in Singapore, followed the United States into bear territory after US President Donald Trump stopped short of offering a detailed rescue package as the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic. Adding to fears, oil prices slumped further. The Straits Times Index (STI) careened into bear territory for the first time since January 2016. The last time that the STI was in a bear market – where stocks have fallen at least 20 per cent from their recent high – was during the oil price rout in 2016. The STI finished down 3.77 per cent yesterday, and more than 21 per cent down from a peak of 3,407.02 on April 29 last year.


By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020

News

askST: Can coronavirus be spread by sweat, or via activities such as singing?

There is currently no evidence showing that the virus can be transmitted through one’s perspiration. Concerns have been raised over social activities such as singing and exercising in the light of the coronavirus outbreak. As of Wednesday (March 11), Singapore’s largest Safra Jurong cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases went up to 40, against a total of 178 cases. The patients, who had attended a Feb 15 Chinese New Year celebration held in the ballroom of Joy Garden restaurant at Safra Jurong, are members of a Hokkien singing group. This has raised concerns as to whether the disease, known as Covid-19, can be transmitted through singing. Similar concerns have been expressed about whether the virus can be spread through sweat b


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

News

Bangladesh to benefit from coronavirus fallout: survey

Study says globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh. Bangladesh will benefit from the fallout of the coronavirus as most of the globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh, according to a new survey. Hong Kong-based QIMA, a leading provider of supply chain compliance solutions and which partners with brands, retailers and importers to secure, manage and optimise their global supply network, surveyed the executives of more than 200 globally renowned companies between February and early March. Half of the survey respondents are considering shifting supplier sourcing away from China to new countries or r


By Daily Star
March 12, 2020