New Delhi: The global watchdog on terrorism financing, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is expanding its monitoring jurisdiction from terror groups to states who support terrorism, a development that will increase scrutiny of Pakistan that has already attracted the body’s criticism. A public statement by the FATF after its recent October plenary said for the first time that it would monitor states that fund terrorism, a move with implications for Pakistan that was put on the organisation’s “Grey List” in June for failing to act credibly against terror financing.
In October, a public statement by FATF observed, “the funding of terrorism or the resourcing of a terrorist entity by any state remains incompatible with the FATF standards. The FATF will remain diligent in identifying new risks associated with the financing of ISIL, Al Qaeda and their affiliates and will continue to take robust measures to ensure that these terrorist financing risks are mitigated.”
In 2018 too, FATF broadened its monitoring of terror financing with regard to Islamic State (ISIL) to include Al Qaeda and its affiliates, which would include terror groups that expressly target India such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed as they are listed under the UN Security Council’s resolution 1267. In October, Pakistan submitted a 27-point action plan to be implemented in 15 months. After Pakistan was placed on the Grey List, Pakistan made a high-level commitment to work with FATF “to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.” Though Pakistan technically has over a year, any progress it makes or not will be discussed in the Asia-Pacific group meetings in January and the plenary in February.
Pakistan got a reprieve when China blocked UNSC sanctions on the JEM chief Maulana Masood Azhar from 2016. Azhar was part of the terrorist-for-hostage swap that ended the Kandahar hijacking in 1999. That is a sore point between India and China and has also led Pakistani authorities to relax curbs on terror leaders like LeT’s Hafiz Saeed who continue to operate freely. As the US plans its exit from Afghanistan, Pakistan can expect, according to diplomatic sources, to come under pressure regarding its support to Taliban and other terror groups in Afghanistan like the Haqqani Network.