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Global Watchdog Gives Pakistan Until February To Step Up Action Against Terror Funding

Updated

Last year, the FATF placed Pakistan on its terrorism-financing "gray" monitoring list.

A global money-laundering watchdog has given Pakistan until February to step up its operations to combat terrorism financing in accordance with an internationally agreed action plan or face actions against it.

"The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020," the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force said in a statement at the end of a five-day meeting on October 18.

"Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action."

Last year, the FATF placed Pakistan on its terrorism-financing "gray" monitoring list last year to pressure Islamabad to halt alleged support for militant groups.

The FATF, which comprises 35 member states and two regional organizations, discourages banks and global investors from lending money to a country put on its gray list.

The move followed a push by the United States and European allies to get Islamabad to close financing loopholes to terrorist groups.

Pakistan has also been under pressure to stop offering a safe haven to militants blamed for attacks in Afghanistan.

Islamabad has denied the charges, insisting that it is clamping down on extremist groups and their financing.

But it also said it made a "high-level" commitment to work with international authorities to tighten regulations and follow an action plan to curb money-laundering and terror financing.

Pakistan has blamed its neighbor and bitter nuclear rival India for lobbying to blacklist it and has looked to friendly nations such as China, Turkey, and Malaysia for support.

Reuters reported that during a recent visit to Beijing, Pakistan's civil and military leadership was assured by Chinese leaders that Islamabad would not be placed on the task force's blacklist.

"God willing, we're trying that we get out of this gray-list as soon as possible, and I think you should believe that a comprehensive effort is being put in place," Pakistani Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh told a news conference.

"We have done a lot to remove anomalies in our system. We hope the body will remove us from the watch list," he added.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa

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