Pakistan remains on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after it failed to meet the global terror financing watchdog's deadline to stop the funding of terror outfits operating from its soil, like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The virtual meet of the FATF was also attended by Indian officials, including representatives from enforcement agencies. The plenary was held under the presidency of Xiangmin Liu of China.
"It was a virtual meet which lasted for five hours. Pakistan did not even get chance to speak. Only we spoke and explained to all how Pakistan continues to be base and source of terror funding for Lashkar and Jaish activities in India and Afghanistan," a senior Home Ministry official told NDTV.
The FATF plenary met via video because of travel restrictions and confinement measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Pakistan did not get chance to speak was as it is not a member of FATF and does not sit on table, " he explains, adding that FATF will now take all UN monitoring team reports into cognisance.
The UN monitoring report highlights that 6,500 Pakistani nationals are operating in Afghanistan and actively aiding foreign terrorists. The report says a large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists and their affiliates are currently active on Afghan soil, fomenting terror.
The report released on June 1 is now going viral as it says that Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan had admitted only last year that there were nearly 30,000 to 40,000 terrorists within Pakistan.
With Pakistan staying on the "grey list", it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, worsening the nation's problems at a time it is in a precarious financial situation.
If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive by October, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country on the "black list" along with North Korea and Iran. Being on the "black list" means the nation is declared non-cooperative in the global fight against money-laundering and terror financing and "high risk" to deal with.
New Delhi maintains that Pakistan extends regular support to terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India, and has urged FATF to take action against Islamabad.
The FATF decision emerged on a day the US Country Reports on Terrorism slammed Pakistan for providing a safe harbour for "regionally focused terrorist groups" and allowing LeT and JeM to operate from its soil.
The US State Department report said Pakistan took modest steps in 2019 to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused terror groups from conducting large-scale attacks following last year's attack on a security convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, carried out by JeM.
The FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018. In August 2019, the Asia Pacific Joint Group placed Pakistan in the enhanced follow-up list for failure to meet the standards.