Pakistan to stay on terror financing watchdog’s ‘grey’ list

ISLAMABAD (AP) — An international watchdog said Friday it will keep Pakistan on a list of countries who do not take full measures to combat money-laundering and terror financing.

The announcement means, however, that the south Asian country avoided being put on the Financial Action Task Force’s “black list” of countries. Those countries not only do not take adequate measures to halt money laundering and terror financing but also have not committed to working with the FATF.

In 2018, the Paris-based group returned Pakistan to a “grey list” of countries with a high risk of money laundering and terrorism financing but which have formally committed to working with the task force to make changes.

Currently, only Iran and North Korea are blacklisted, a designation that severely restricts a country’s international borrowing capabilities. Pakistan is trying to avoid that designation but also get off the grey list.

FATF gave Pakistan another four months to improve its performance.

The task force said Pakistan had made some significant progress, but it urged the country to complete its full action plan by February 2021 when it will consider again whether Islamabad’s status should change.

The announcement Friday was not surprising for Pakistan, although it wanted to get off the gray list, the color code for countries only partially fulfilling international rules for fighting terrorism financing and money laundering.

Pakistan’s government in a statement said it will fully comply with the agency’s requirements this year.

Pakistan hopes to be removed from the agency’s watch list to help revive the country’s economy, which has witnessed a decline since 2018, when prime minister Imran Khan’s government came into power.

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