After global financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force told Pakistan to curb terror financing by October or face consequences, India today said it expects Islamabad to take "credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures" to address concerns related to terrorism and terror funding.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday issued a strong warning to Pakistan, stating that the country could be blacklisted unless it fulfils an "action plan" against UN-designated terrorists operating on its soil by October, highly placed sources in the Indian diplomatic team said.
In response to a query on the FATF report, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the global watchdog has decided to continue to keep Pakistan on its "grey list" for its failure to complete the action plan items due in January and May this year.
"We expect Pakistan to take all necessary steps to effectively implement the FATF Action Plan fully within the remaining time frame i.e. by September 2019 in accordance with its political commitment to the FATF and take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures to address global concerns related to terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from any territory under its control," Raveesh Kumar said this morning.
The Paris-based financial watchdog's warning was made following a meeting in Florida this week. "The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019, when the last set of action plan items are set to expire," it said in a statement. "Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress."
Reacting to the FATF''s warning, Pakistan on Friday said it was committed to taking measures needed to implement the action plan agreed with the FATF to come out of the "grey list".
India has previously urged the FATF to put Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards in stopping terror funding following the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations.
Since June 2018, Pakistan has been on the "grey list" of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.
India and other member countries of the FATF have charged Pakistan of failing to take concrete action against Hafiz Saeed, Maula Masood Azhar and other UN-designated terrorists, pointing out that its anti-terror law still remains out of sync with standards set by the international body.
Several FATF members have also raised the issue of no cases being registered against Hafiz Saeed and Azhar Masood. Although Pakistan contends that it has done enough by seizing over 700 properties belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Daawa, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, India and other FATF members have pointed out that seizures do not necessarily indicate compliance.
If Pakistan continues to remain in the "grey list", it would risk being downgraded by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, besides facing negative assessments by credit rating agencies such as Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch.
This will add to the financial burden of Pakistan, which is seeking aid from all possible international avenues to overcome a slump in economy.
(With inputs from PTI)