Washington: The US has urged Pakistan to continue working with the anti-terror-financing agency FATF to “swiftly complete” its 27-point action plan by demonstrating that terrorism financing probes and prosecutions target terrorists and commanders of the UN-designated terror groups.
At its virtual plenary meeting last month, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ for failing to check money laundering, leading to terror financing.
It asked Pakistan to investigate and prosecute UN-designated terrorists based in the country like Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed.
At his daily news conference, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said while Pakistan had made some progress on its first action plan of the FATF, it needed to work on its second action plan.
“We do recognize and we support Pakistan’s continued efforts to satisfy those (first action plan) obligations. Pakistan has made significant progress on its first action plan with 26 of 27 action items largely addressed,” Price said.
“We encourage Pakistan to continue working with the FATF and the international community to swiftly complete the remaining action item by demonstrating that terrorism financing, investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated groups,” he said.
The UN-designated terrorists based in Pakistan include Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and its ‘operational commander’ Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
Azhar, Saeed and Lakhvi are the most wanted terrorists in India for their involvement in numerous terrorist acts, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the bombing of a CRPF bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district in 2019.
Pakistan was placed on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later on due to the COVID-19 pandemic.