BERLIN: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced on Friday that Pakistan has “substantially completed its two action plans” and would be removed from the grey list after it passes the on-site visit.
However, Pakistan has not been officially removed from the FATF’s grey list and may be taken off it once the watchdog visits Pakistan.
“The FATF will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date,” said the watchdog.
The watchdog noted that since June 2018 — when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF — Islamabad continued its political commitment to combating both terror financing and money laundering. The moves, resultantly, led to significant progress.
“In particular, Pakistan demonstrated that terror financing investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upwards trend in the number of money laundering investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan, in line with Pakistan’s risk profile. In addition, Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times,” said the FATF.
Pakistan to be removed from grey list after passing on-site visit
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer, while addressing a press conference after the plenary meeting, noted that Pakistani authorities have done a lot of work.
“I’m glad to say that they [Pakistan] have now largely addressed all 34 action items from their combined two action plans. Pakistan is not being removed from the grey list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully passes the on-site visit,” said Dr Pleyer.
Khar congratulates Pakistan
Soon after the announcement, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar — who was leading Pakistan’s delegation at the plenary session in Berlin — congratulated the country after the watchdog declared both actions plans complete.
“International community has unanimously acknowledged our efforts. Our success is the result of four years of challenging journey. Pak reaffirms resolve to continue the momentum and give our economy a boost,” said Khar while congratulating the Pakistan team at FATF.
Imran Khan’s takes credit for FATF outcome
Former prime minister Imran Khan noted that Pakistan was nominated for greylisting by FATF in February 2018 and had to complete the most challenging action plan ever given to any jurisdiction.
The PTI chairman said that when his government came to power the country “faced dire prospect of blacklisting” by FATF. He also noted that Pakistan’s “past compliance history with FATF was also not favourable.”
“I constituted a FATF Coordination Committee headed by key minister Hammad Azhar. The committee had representation from all government departments and security agencies relevant to our FATF action plan. The officers worked day and night in the first instance to avoid blacklisting,” said Khan.
The PTI chairman noted that the watchdog “repeatedly praised work and the political will” of his government.
“We not only averted blacklisting but also completed 32 out of 34 action items. We submitted a compliance report on the remaining two items in April based on which FATF now declared Pakistan’s action plan as completed,” said the former premier.
Khan said that he was confident that Pakistan will successfully pass the on-site visit and FATF will confirm the work completed on the PTI’s government’s action.
“Hammad Azhar, members of his FATF coordination committee and officers who worked on this task performed exceptionally well. The whole country is proud of you,” said the PTI chairman.
FATF places Pakistan on grey list
In October 2018, the FATF Asia Pacific Group demanded more action from Pakistan to put an end to money laundering and financial assistance to terrorists.
Following a meeting in Paris in June 2018, the Paris-based organisation formally included Pakistan on its “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing.
The organisation can make recommendations to any of the countries that have signed a membership charter, as well as other nations, but it has no power to impose sanctions.