Pakistan’s leaders may be relieved that at last week’s meeting of the UN FATF (Financial Action Task Force), Pakistan remained on the ‘grey list’ and was not placed on the ‘black list.’ However, if they paid attention to the remarks of the outgoing President of FATF, Marshall Billingslea, they would not be as sanguine.
According to Billingslea, “Pakistan had “significant” work to do and was, with regard to an action plan agreed in June 2018, “lacking in almost every respect. Pakistan was cautioned in February at the plenary that they had missed almost all of their January milestones. And they were urged to not fail to meet the milestones in May. Unfortunately, Pakistan has yet again missed its May milestones. Now the action plan itself is set to complete in September. So this [the June 16-21 Orlando plenary] was not the plenary where we would discuss a blacklisting issue. This was the plenary where we examine how far and how far behind Pakistan is on its action plan … and I must say they are far behind. There is much that must be done by September. If they fail to implement the action plan by September then the FATF has made clear that we will consider next steps.” Further, “Pakistan does not either appreciate or chooses not to acknowledge the transnational, trans-border terrorist financing risk they face. Even though they did issue an addendum, an annex, to their national risk assessment following the February discussion. There are also a number of other structural and legal changes that have to be undertaken, including successful prosecution of terrorist financing cases.”
If Pakistan is placed on the FATF blacklist “which currently only has Iran and North Korea on it, could severely cripple and isolate a country financially, resulting in a downgraded credit rating and denying it loans and development assistance.”
Maybe it is time for Pakistan’s leadership to collectively decide that support for terrorism needs to be given up at all levels and for all time.