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In an effort to escape getting included in “grey list” for UN watchdog’s international money laundering and terror financing, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain has quietly promulgated an ordinance amending Anti-Terrorism Act-1997 regarding proscription of terrorist individuals and organizations to include entities listed by UNSC.  President signed the ordinance on Friday, which was made public on Monday.

US and India were reportedly spearheading an effort to get Pakistan included in the watchdog’s international money laundering and terror-financing “grey list”.

Hafiz Saeed, the co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the UN designated terror organizations operating from Pakistan. The US administration announced a bounty of $10 million on Saeed for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, killing 164 civilians, including six American citizens.

According to Dawn, this move will end ambiguity over the status of Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaat-ud- Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) by firmly placing them on the proscribed groups list along with UN listed outfits of Al Akhbar Trust and Al Rashid Trust.

The promulgation of the ordinance amending Anti-Terrorist Act 1997,which ends and old discrepancy between the UN sanctions list and the national listing of terrorist groups and individuals, has come over a week before the crucial meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), scheduled to be held from February 18 to 23 in Paris.

The reports from Islamabad suggest that on February 2, the National Security Committee (NSC) had directed the “ministries concerned to complete the few outstanding actions at the earliest”.

The FATF plenary held in Buenos Aires in November last year had asked Pakistan to furnish “a compliance report on actions taken against Lashkar-e-Taiba and JuD at the Paris meeting.

In January this year a UNSC 1267 sanction committee’s monitoring team visited Pakistan to review the compliance. The analysts fear that the FATF review this time could be tougher with some punitive action against Pakistan.

The international monitoring body FATF maintains “grey” and “black” list for identifying countries with “weak measures” to combat money laundering and terror financing. It does not have the powers to impose sanctions on the country not meeting the required standard. However, its listing may affect international transactions from the country concerned as those would then become subject to greater security.

Pakistan was earlier placed in the “grey list” in February 2012 and stayed on it for three years. If placed in this list, doing international or cross- border transactions becomes more expansive and ultimately causes difficulty in doing business locally.

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