The global dirty money watchdog decides to keep Pakistan on its watchlist despite Islamabad making progress in meeting international counter-terrorism financing standards.
Pakistan will remain on a terrorist financing watchlist until it fully implements a number of prevention guidelines, a global watchdog said, calling on Islamabad to improve financial controls.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body, commended Pakistan for progress on 21 out of 27 recommendations, but said the rest needed to be implemented as well.
Last February, Pakistan secured another four months to complete the plan after missing 13 of the 27 goals the FATF set in 2018 when it put Pakistan on its “gray list”. The grace period was then extended again due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The so-called “gray list” includes countries whose control over the financing of “terrorism” is considered inadequate.
“Pakistan needs to do more,” said FATF President Dr. Marcus Pleyer at the end of a virtual meeting in Paris on Friday to discuss global financial systems including terrorist financing.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said ahead of the decision that regional rival India is campaigning to downgrade the country to a more punitive “blacklist”.
The Asia Pacific Group, a regional subsidiary of the Watchdog, had recommended keeping Pakistan on the gray list as there was still a risk that terrorist financing would go undetected.
The powerful Pakistani military is often accused of harboring fighters to use as proxies against India and neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan was blacklisted by the FATF for years before being removed in 2015 after “significant progress” in the fight against the financing of terrorism. Currently, only Iran and North Korea are blacklisted.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, elected in 2018, struggled to eradicate threats from armed groups while he came under pressure to put in painful austerity measures to correct a shaky economy and meet the terms of his latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
Separately on Friday, Iceland and Mongolia were removed from the list of FATF countries under increased surveillance.
The Paris-based organization also said that coronavirus-related pandemic-related fraud is rising and fake medical supplies, stimulus measures and online fraud are hitting governments around the world hard.