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India planning to make stronger case at FATF to get Pakistan blacklisted

National

May 7, 2020

ISLAMABAD: India is planning to make a stronger case at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to get Pakistan blacklisted for terror financing.

India will base its case around recent incidents in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), particularly the killing of five security personnel in Handwara last week and in so-called Keran operation before that, to malign Pakistan. While the Paris-based financial watchdog has given more time to Pakistan to comply with its 27-point action plan, New Delhi has decided to ramp up global pressure against Islamabad, under the pretext of such allegations, a top Indian diplomatic source told media in New Delhi.

The FATF had given Pakistan 27-point action plan at its plenary in February, things could become difficult for Pakistan. The FATF had made it clear that if it finds that Pakistan has worked on all parameters, it may even bring the country out of the ‘grey list’.

India has also raised fake extremist organisation and it is likely to highlight the emergence of some new outfits in IOK, like ‘The Resistance Front’ (TRF), which the Indian government believes is an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Tehreek-i-Milat-i-Islami (TMI), another source said.

The FATF’s June plenary has been postponed due to the corona pandemic, a final call on Pakistan will only be taken in its October plenary. However, an evaluation of Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan will be carried out in Beijing on 21-26 June. This will be done by the joint working group meetings of the FATF and Eurasian Group (EAG), sources said.

This group is expected to consider the report given to it by the Asia Pacific Group, of which India is a member. The final findings from Beijing will feed into the October plenary, which will then do its own evaluation. Pakistan has been on the ‘grey list’ since June 2018 and wants to come out of it since it entails immense scrutiny by most countries that comprise the 39-member FATF, which impacts foreign capital inflow into the country.

“This time it is not going to be easy for Pakistan as it was before. The recent acquittal of Omar Sheikh will also not go in its favour at the FATF,” former foreign secretary India Kanwal Sibal said, referring to Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, the alleged mastermind of the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal scribe Daniel Pearl in 2002.

The former foreign secretary, however, also said it will not be easy to blacklist Pakistan, which has the support of the US for the role it played in the Taliban peace deal, and the fact that Pakistan is a close ally of China.