Pakistan completes global financial watchdog’s item list, moves closer to removal from ‘grey list’

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A man watches news channel flashing news regarding FATF decision, at a market in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday. AFP

The global financial watchdong on Friday in its plenary meeting, held in German city of Berlin, acknowledged that Pakistan has completed all the conditions set by the body to come out of the grey list.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up by the G7 group of advanced economies to protect the global financial system, said Pakistan had substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, as part of a bid to get off the list on which it has been since 2018. But FATF said an on-site visit was warranted to verify that reforms had begun and were being sustained, as well as that the necessary political commitment remained in place to sustain improvement in the future.

“Pakistan is not being removed from the gray list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully passes the onsite visit,” FATF president Marcus Pleyer told a news conference.

The purpose of the onsite visit, he said, is to verify the completion of reforms to check whether it is sustainable and irreversible.

Pleyer did not give a date for the visit but said it would be before the body’s October plenary, where an “informed decision” can be made whether to delist Pakistan.

Despite the remaining hurdle, Pakistani officials reacted positively to the news that the country had completed its action plan.

Soon after the development, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar — who was leading Pakistan’s delegation at the plenary session in Berlin — congratulated Pakistan.

“Our success is the result of four years of a challenging journey. Pakistan reaffirms resolve to continue the momentum and give our economy a boost,” said Khar while congratulating the Pakistan team at FATF.

“International community has unanimously acknowledged our efforts. Our success is the result of 4 years of challenging journey,” the state minister said in a tweet.

The minister added that Pakistan reaffirms its resolve to continue the momentum and give the country’s economy a boost.

“Pakistan has substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, and warrants an on-site visit to verify that the implementation of Pakistan’s AML/CFT reforms has begun and is being sustained,” a statement from the FATF said.

“Pakistan’s continued political commitment to combating both terrorist financing and money laundering has led to significant progress,” FATF said in a statement. The country’s efforts were sustained, it said and added that Pakistan’s “necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future.”

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said FATF reviewed Pakistan’s progress in countering terror financing during a four-day meeting this week and “acknowledged the completion of Pakistan’s” action plans. It said a visit to Pakistan was authorized as a final step toward exiting from the FATF’s “gray list.”

The announcement comes after the FATF’s four-day plenary session concluded in Berlin, where Pakistan’s situation came under discussion.

The statement also acknowledged Pakistan continued political commitment to combating both terrorist financing and money laundering, which it said had led to significant progress.

“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,” it added.

“The FATF will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date.”

“In addition, Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times,” it noted.

Pakistan was placed on the FATF list of countries under increased monitoring in June 2018.

Grey listing means FATF has placed a country under increased monitoring to check its progress on measures against money laundering and terrorism financing. The “grey list” is also known as the “increased monitoring list.”

Agencies



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