Pakistan faces likely setback at the Financial Action Task Force plenary session

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Pakistan faces likely setback at the Financial Action Task Force plenary session

*NEW DELHI* : Pakistan faces likely setback at the Financial Action Task Force plenary session.

A sub-group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Tuesday recommended retaining Pakistan in the ‘grey list’ of the global terror financing watchdog with a final decision due later this week, two people familiar with the development said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) at the Paris plenary, which began Sunday with more than 800 representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions besides organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the World Bank.

“Six days of meetings will focus on global action to follow the money that fuels crime and terrorism and reduce the harm caused to people and society," FATF said in a statement posted on its website over the weekend.

Days before the FATF plenary was to start, Pakistan sentenced Saeed, the chief of LeT, who is accused by India of planning the Mumbai attacks, to a total of 11 years in prison for two cases of funneling money for terrorist activities.

The two sentences are to run concurrently, which means that his term in prison will effectively be slightly more than five years.

The move was expected to ease some pressure on Pakistan which is looking to exit the FATF’s ‘grey list’, which results in increased spotlight on the country and its financial mechanisms.

The sentencing of Saeed was welcomed by the US as an important step, which buoyed spirits in Islamabad. Washington, which is looking for a deal with the Taliban to reduce its military footprint in Afghanistan, is seen as dependent on Islamabad to ensure that a nascent peace pact with the Taliban holds, given the former’s influence on the latter.