China commends Pak’s enormous efforts after FATF retains it in grey list
Beijing: China on Friday praised close-ally Pakistan’s “enormous efforts” in combating terror financing and played down reports that it backed India and other countries against Islamabad at the just- concluded FATF meeting in Paris that retained the country in the Grey List.
Asked about reports that China has joined India and other countries in sending a strong message to Pakistan and urging it to fulfil its commitments to fight terror financing and money laundering, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told an online media briefing here that the Financial Action Task Force meeting has decided to give Pakistan more time to implement its action plan on money laundering and terrorist financing.
“China’s position on the relevant issue remains unchanged. Pakistan has made enormous efforts in improving its counter-terror financing system, which has been recognised by the vast majority of the FATF members at its latest plenary meeting concluded on February 20 in Paris,” he said.
It was decided at the meeting that Pakistan will be allowed more time to continue implementing its action plan, Geng said, a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
During the telephonic conversation, the two leaders agreed to step up communication and exchanges at the highest level to strengthen Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.
China said it stands ready to work with relevant parties to offer more assistance to Pakistan in its efforts against terrorism.
China maintains that the purpose and aim of the FATF is to support countries’ efforts to strengthen institutions against money laundering and terror financing and safeguard international financing system, the spokesman said.
The Paris-based FATF, which supervises effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, during the meeting decided continuation of Pakistan in the “Grey List”.
The FATF decided to maintain Pakistan’s status on its ‘Grey List’ of countries with inadequate control over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing until June, when the next review will take place, Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted a statement issued by the Finance Division as saying on Friday.
The global terror financing watchdog also warned Pakistan that stern action will be taken against it if the country fails to check the flow of money to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) among others, according to sources.
The FATF in October last year decided to keep Pakistan on its Grey List for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups like LeT and JeM.
If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.
The plenary noted that Pakistan addressed only a few of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like LeT, JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen, which are responsible for a series of attacks in India.
The FATF said Pakistan has to swiftly complete its full action plan by June, the source said.
India has been maintaining that Pakistan extends regular support to ‘terror’ groups like LeT, JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India, and has urged the FATF to take action against Islamabad.