The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body that sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally, on Wednesday officially placed Pakistan on its “grey list” after a plenary meeting in Paris, Dawn reported. International financial institutions and banks will now find it difficult to conduct business in the country, and Pakistani businesses will also face hurdles while raising money overseas.
The announcement was made late at night despite a diplomatic effort by Pakistan to get the global watchdog to reverse its decision. Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the interim minister for finance and planning, apprised the watchdog of the government’s steps to curb money laundering and terror financing, Geo News reported. Azam Khan, the caretaker minister of interior affairs, said the United States and India had put pressure on Turkey, Saudi Arabia and China to stick to the decision.
The task force decided to name Pakistan in the “grey list” at its plenary meeting in Paris on February 23 after China withdrew its objection to the motion that the United States had introduced. China, which had initially opposed the motion, withdrew its objection reportedly because of India’s decision to support its bid for a leadership role at the task force.
Pakistan passed a presidential ordinance days before the task force’s meeting in February. It amended its anti-terror law to include all United Nations-listed individuals and groups designated as terrorists. The country’s counter-terrorism forces even launched a massive crackdown against three entities linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawah leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008.