Pakistan has secretly removed around 1,800 terrorists from its watch list, maintained by the country’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) including that of the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi according to the US based start-up, Castellum.Al that automates watchlist compliance.
The move came ahead of the new round of assessments by the Paris based global anti-money-laundering watchdog FATF(The Financial Action Task Force ).
“Pakistan is working to implement an action plan that has been mutually agreed to with the FATF, part of which involves demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions.”
“There is a possibility that these removals are part of Pakistan’s action plan to implement the FATF recommendations.” it said as was told by a Pakistani official in an email interview.
Altough Pakistan received a rating of low effectiveness from the FATF regarding terrorist financing preventive measures and financial sanctions, the FATF noted in February that Pakistan has largely addressed 14 of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action, it said.
The FATF will again evaluate Pakistan’s progress in June 2020.
The country has been currently placed on the FATF’s ‘grey list’, Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations, which might aggravate its already poor economic conditions.
Altough the lack of certain identifiers such as dates of birth or, in some cases, a national ID number on NACTA’s list makes it difficult to know for sure, the Wall Street Journal quoted sanctions experts as saying.