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Pakistan Kept On Terrorism Financing Watchlist Despite Progress


Hammad Azhar, Pakistan’s energy minister who is also involved in FATF-related matters, welcomed the watchdog’s acknowledgement that his country has made progress as “good news.” (file photo)

A global money-laundering watchdog has called on Pakistan to "continue to make progress as soon as possible " to address the one remaining recommendation that is preventing the country from being removed from a so-called gray list of terrorism financing.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Pakistan on its watchlist in 2018 amid accusations that the country's powerful military harbors Islamist militants to use them as proxies against India and neighboring Afghanistan.

Being placed on the list can scare away investors and creditors, and make global banks wary of doing business with a country.

Following a three-day plenary session on October 21, FATF hailed Pakistan’s “continued political commitment” since June 2018 to address its counterterrorist financing-related “deficiencies,” which has allowed the country to completed 26 of the 27 recommendations made by the watchdog to prevent terrorism financing and money laundering.

However, FATF President Marcus Pleyer told a press conference that the authorities need to “further demonstrate that investigations and prosecutions are being pursued against the senior leadership of UN designated terror groups.”

The international watchdog also said Pakistan still needs to demonstrate that it “actively seeks to enhance the impact of sanctions beyond its jurisdiction by nominating additional individuals and entities for designation at the UN.”

Hammad Azhar, Pakistan’s energy minister who is also involved in FATF-related matters, welcomed the watchdog’s acknowledgement that his country has made progress as “good news.”

“26/27 items already complete. Majority of countries believe that we have completed the Action Plan,” Azhar tweeted.

FATF also decided on October 21 to add Turkey, Jordan, and Mali to its watchlist, and to remove Botswana and Mauritius.

The organization also announced a new strategy for combatting corruption through anonymous entities such as shell companies. The proposed rules would force countries to set up a registry listing who actually owns an entity.

With reporting by AP
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