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Put on the watch list of terror funding, Pakistan pleads to improve



ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – This week, Pakistan was placed on a watch list of terrorist financings. On Saturday Pakistan promised to tighten the rules and pursue an action plan to curb money laundering and terrorist financing.

A woman waits for customers as she sells national flags and patriotic memorabilia before Pakistan's Independence Day, along a street in Karachi, Pakistan. August 2, 201
7. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro / Files

Pakistani officials had a meeting in Paris vainly tries to persuade the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to keep Pakistan out of a list of states with inadequate controls to prevent terrorist financing and money laundering.

Western allies have long urged Islamabad to do more to curb militant groups on its soil, and the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany all argued in February that Pakistan should be on the "gray list" the guard dog would reset.

In nuclear-armed Pakistan, various anti-Western, anti-Indian Islamist militant groups are stationed, while Afghanistan and Western military have repeatedly complained about the covert support of the Afghan Taliban and their cohorts, such as the Haqqani group in Pakistan.

Pakistan has been on the watch list for three years until 2015, and the FATF has told the government what to do to be withdrawn.

Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar, part of the technocratic government that governs the country until the general election on July 25, told FATF members in Paris that Pakistan wanted to pursue a "state-wide" approach to counter-terrorism funding.

The Ministry of Finance said that Akhtar has set up an "Institutional Coordination and Monitoring Mechanism" to ensure that the Action Plan is implemented.

Returning to a watch list may further hinder the chances of attracting Western investment into Pakistan's fragile economy, but China supports large-scale infrastructure projects.

Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Arrangement of Simon Cameron-Moore


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