The outgoing president of the Financial Action Task Force, Marshall Billingslea, on Friday said Pakistan could be put on the watchdog’s blacklist as the country “was lacking in almost every aspect” in terms of an action plan to curb terror financing, The Hindu reported. Billingslea made the remarks at a press briefing after the organisation’s plenary in the city of Orlando in the United States, an audio clip of which was given to the press on Monday.
The task force official said Pakistan had failed to meet its commitments on combatting terror financing. “Pakistan does not either appreciate or chooses not to acknowledge the transnational, trans-border terrorist financing risk they face,” he added. India has been pushing for Pakistan to get on the financial watchdog’s blacklist due to its failure to tackle terrorist activities.
Billingslea said Pakistan still had significant work to do and that the country was cautioned in February after missing almost all of its milestones the month before. “And they were urged to not fail to meet the milestones in May,” he said. “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.”
He said Pakistan had a lot to do by September, and if they fail to implement the 26-point action plan suggested by the watchdog it will consider what action to take. The international body cam down hard on Islamabad, India Today reported. “[There is] absolutely a possibility they could be put on the blacklist,” Billingslea added. “A decision would be taken in the future plenary of October 2019.”
Among the countries that participated at the plenary, China, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council asked the international body to give Pakistan more time to follow the action plan.
Being on a blacklist of the financial watchdog has the potential to severely cripple and isolate a country financially that could lead to a downgraded credit rating and denial of loans and developmental assistance. Billingslea said he did not want to specify the outcomes.
Billingslea said the watchdog was ready to give advice to Pakistan on its bailout on the request of the International Monetary Fund. “Fund disbursement, based on a structural benchmark that might be associated with FATF is purely an IMF decision,” he added.