Pakistan has fulfilled all the 27 conditions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); therefore, the global financial watchdog has no ground to keep the country on the grey list, asserted Qureshi while speaking in a news program.
Blaming the policies of the past two governments PPP and PML-N, he said that it was due to their incompetence and poor policies that the country was now dealing with the IMF loans and the FATF grey list. “It was due to the poor performance of the previous governments that we had to approach the IMF,” he said.
When asked about the IMF conditions, the foreign minister said that it is not possible for Pakistan to accept every demand laid out by the global lender. He further said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan is taking every step to overcome the hurdles that had been created by the previous governments.
“When PTI came to power, Pakistan had already gone into the [FAFT] grey list due to PML N’s ineptness,” Qureshi said. The government has since then been trying to rectify the situation and has managed to meet all 27 points of the FATF’s Action Plan. None of the previous governments made an effort to curb money laundering and terrorist financing, he added.
Talking about the new budget, the FM said that businessmen, farmers, industrialists, investors have expressed their satisfaction and see it as a ray of hope. Though the government took difficult measures during the first three years of its tenure which burdened the masses, its economic priorities are now being lauded by the world, he said.
Addressing the Kashmir crisis, Qureshi said that an independent referendum should be held to get the opinion of Kashmiris around the world. If Kashmiris reject India’s unilateral measures, New Delhi would have to reevaluate its decisions, he added.
About the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said that the situation is “worrying”. However, as a neighbour, Pakistan wants peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said.
Pakistan’s history with FATF’s grey list
Pakistan had first appeared in the FATF statement after the plenary meeting of 2008. Back then, FATF had noted the country’s adopting anti-money laundering legislation practices but had urged the government to address the remaining deficiencies that could lead to it having a vulnerable position in the international financial system.
In June 2010, Pakistan guaranteed a high level of commitment and declared that it would work with FATF and Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering to fix these issues. But in vain, as it could not demonstrate enough improvement to be taken out the grey list in October 11, even. A public statement by FATF issued in February 2012 listed Pakistan among countries who have “Jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that have not made sufficient progress in addressing the deficiencies or have not committed to an action plan developed with the FATF to address the deficiencies”. FATF believed that the country did not have suitable legislation to identify terror financing and confiscate terrorist assets.
In June 2014, Pakistan made its way out of the Public Statement to the second statement of “Improving public compliance” which acknowledged that the country had made a significant progress. And in no more than nine months, Pakistan was no longer subject to the FATF’s monitoring process under its on-going global AML/CFT compliance process”
However, in June 2018, Pakistan was back on FATF’s grey list. The FATF press release read that the ‘action plan’ should focus on plugging the holes in terror financing and activities of UN-designated terrorists. The country then submitted its action plan which includes 27 points aimed at improving its position in the international financial sector.
The country has now implemented all 27 points of FATF’s Action Plan and is hopeful of making it out of the grey list during FATF’s plenary meeting that is currently taking place.