Paris: Exit from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list looks difficult for Pakistan as some European countries have taken a stand that Islamabad has not acted upon certain points that were mandated by the action plan. What is also likely to go against Pakistan is the acquittal of the accused in American journalist Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder case, a move against which the US has expressed its concern. As a result, Washington may also lobby for Pakistan’s continuation on the FATF grey list ‘at least till July’ this year.
The virtual FATF plenary will be held in Paris from February 22 to 25. In October 2020, the previous FATF plenary concluded that Pakistan will continue in its ‘grey list’ till February 2021 as it had failed on six of the 27 obligations that the financial watchdog had listed. Action against two of India’s most-wanted terrorists – Jaish-e Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Jamaat-ud-Dawa head Hafiz Saeed, was also among the pointers mandated by the body.
France unhappy with Pakistan over the cartoon row
Citing a Dawn report, PTI reported that ‘ some European countries, especially the host France, had recommended to the FATF to continue to keep Pakistan on the grey list and had taken the position that not all points had been fully implemented by Islamabad’. The report also said that France was not happy with Islamabad’s response to the cartoon controversy which had resulted in widespread protests against France across the world.
“We can’t say what will be their response to it; let’s wait for the day,” an official told the paper.
Earlier this month, Pakistan Supreme Court acquitted al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides in the 2002 Pearl murder case. Pearl’s family called the move a ‘travesty of justice’.