Pakistan inches closer to removal from FATF grey list

By: News Desk
Published: 08:26 PM, 17 Jun, 2022
Pakistan inches closer to removal from FATF grey list
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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Friday in its plenary meeting, being 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, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The FATF delegation will now schedule an on-site visit to verify the implementation and sustainability of the country's money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures.

According to the FATF statement, Pakistan has substantially completed both its action plans, adding that this showed the necessary political commitment was in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future.

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

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.

Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times, the FATF said.

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”.

Earlier, in an interview with the BBC, a Pakistan government official said that recent updates on the plenary meeting show promising signs of a positive outcome for Pakistan. Other countries’ consent and consolation, he said, are also significant in the meeting.

He, however, said that even if Pakistan is removed from the watchlist, the FATF team will visit Pakistan for an inspection, which will take seven to eight months to complete.

Pakistan had embarked on a massive diplomatic campaign to remove itself from the FATF’s grey list. The Pakistan delegation is led by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who is also the chair of Pakistan’s National FATF Coordination Committee. The plenary meeting began on June 14.

Pakistan requires the votes of Turkey, China, and Malaysia to be removed from the list, and all three countries have pledged their full support to Pakistani authorities. As a result, there are now strong chances that Pakistan will be removed from the FATF’s grey list, following the current meeting in Berlin, Germany.

Germany, the United States, and other countries have expressed some support for Pakistan’s request to be removed from the FATF’s grey list.

Pakistan has so far implemented almost all points, 32 of the 34, of the FATF Action Plan, including prosecutions and all relevant legal amendments. FATF had directed Pakistan to fulfil 34 conditions in two stages, which Pakistan accomplished.

There were strong speculations since morning that FATF has removed Pakistan from grey list with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders taking the lead to claim the credit of removal of Pakistan from the grey list.

Cautious Ministers

However, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar advised against prejudging and speculative reporting on the FATF meeting's outcome.

Taking to Twitter, the minister said that the plenary meetings are underway and the FATF will issue a public statement after concluding the meetings tonight.

She further stated that the government has arranged a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.

"The FATF Plenary Meetings are continuing in Berlin. FATF will issue a Public Statement after conclusion of the meetings tonight. Prejudging the outcome or speculative reporting could and should be avoided. Government of Pakistan has arranged a media briefing at MOFA on Saturday morning on this issue," Khar wrote.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also called for an end to speculations about the plenary session's outcomes, terming them inappropriate.

PTI takes credit

Formal federal minister for finance and revenue Shaukat Tarin said removal of Pakistan from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list was yet another feather in cap of PTI leader and former minister for economic affairs Hammad Azhar.

Shaukat Tarin asked that why former prime minister Imran Khan’s government was toppled, despite the PTI government’s handling every crisis deftly.

“After producing strong economic results in the last two years, successfully managing Covid and now the FATF, the question is why was Imran Khan’s govt changed?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Hammad Azhar said Pakistan’s hard work on completion of 34 action items during the last three years was a result of teamwork of officers that worked day and night in different government departments.

Sharing a picture of the people who worked with him during the PTI government’s tenure, he wrote, “They are the real heroes!”

“As per FATF procedure, an onsite visit is conducted before removing a jurisdiction from grey listing,” he relayed.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said when the PTI took over the government, it found Pakistan in the FATF grey list, along with the economic catastrophe.

“Imran Khan assigned the task of removing Pakistan from the FATF to Hamad Azhar. Then all the relevant federal and provincial institutes were made part of the task force, through whose efforts the action plan is complete now,” he wrote.

Former Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said clear FATF removal is based on concrete legal actions not on diplomatic "skills"!

She also tweeted assembly session videos where Hina Rabbani Khar, who is leading the Pakistani delegation in FATF, could be seen staging a walkout with other opposition members against the passing of Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Bills.

PTI’s official account, however, remained cautious about the outcome and claimed only that if Pakistan lands on the white list, the credit must go to their party for all their hard work.

Twitter trend

Hammad Azhar’s name remained among the top trends in Pakistan with many acknowledging his services that led to Pakistan’s removal from the grey list.

Apart from Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Myanmar, Philippines, South Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen are among 23 countries on the grey list.

Of late, Pakistan is trying its best to comply with all international agencies, given that the country faces economic and political instability.

The FATF was established in July 1989 by a G-7 Summit in Paris, initially to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering. After the 9/11 attacks, the FATF in October 2001 expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terror financing, and in April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Categories : Pakistan