In a major setback to Pakistan, the global terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Tuesday, February 18, decided to retain India's nuclear-armed neighbour in its 'Grey List'. The decision was taken by the 39-member FATF at its week-long plenary session in Paris, France.

Pakistan has used the recent conviction of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JUD) chief Hafiz Saeed, who has been sent to around five-and-a-half years imprisonment each in the two cases related to money laundering and terror financing at the anti-terrorism court, to defend itself at the FATF. Pakistan has made the decision on the eve of the FATF plenary meeting. 

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
The decision was taken at FATF's week-long plenary session in Paris, France.(Photo: Twitter/@FATFNews)

On Monday, the FATF said several terrorist groups continue to benefit from funds raised through illegal activities and from supporters worldwide despite the international terror financing watchdog tightening the standards on the flow of money.

READ | India questions Hafiz Saeed's conviction in Pakistan ahead of FATF meet

India has maintained that Pakistan, which is aiming to avoid being "blacklisted" by the group for its actions on countering terrorism, extends regular support to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India and has urged FATF to take action against Islamabad.

Malaysian PM & Turkish President support Pak at FATF

In the past two weeks, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have issued statements promising to support Pakistan at the FATF, as well as on Kashmir.

Pakistan was optimistic that it would be able to satisfy FATF and get out of the grey list. However, Islamabad retained its place in the list for another six months.