India calls for Pakistan’s blacklisting by FATF

NEW DELHI (Reuters): India will ask Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to put Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards in stopping financial crime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.

The global money laundering and terror finance watchdog already has Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing.

But India wants Pakistan blacklisted, which would likely result in sanctions, Prime Minister Imran Khan said last month.

“We want Pakistan downgraded on the FATF list,” Jaitley told reporters adding that the Paris-based FATF was due to meet in mid-May and India would make its request then.

The call came a day after India claimed a diplomatic victory with a UN Security Council committee blacklisting the founder of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group, Masood Azhar.

Pakistan’s ally China had repeatedly opposed efforts at the United Nations by Western powers to directly sanction Azhar, even though the group had already been blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2001.

India’s foreign ministry welcomed the sanctioning of Azhar as “a step in the right direction to demonstrate the international community’s resolve to fight against terrorism and its enablers”.

“The core issue is that he has been declared an international terrorist,” Jaitley said, referring to Azhar.

In February, the Paris-based FATF had claimed that Pakistan “does not demonstrate a proper understanding” of terrorism financing risks posed by militant groups, including the JeM.

The organisation can make recommendations to any of the countries that have signed a membership charter, as well as other nations, but it has no power to impose sanctions.