A Pakistani delegation, led by Hammad Azhar, the Minister for Economic Affairs, has arrived in Paris to attend a critical two-day session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), scheduled to begin today (Monday).
The Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar will present Pakistan’s compliance report, which outlines the measures taken by Islamabad to eliminate money laundering and terror financing.
📢 This week, around 800 officials representing 205 jurisdictions around the world will come to discuss actions to tackle #moneylaundering #terroristfinancing & #proliferationfinancing, the assessments of Russia and Turkey, #stablecoins and more https://t.co/iA1hlSqYLn pic.twitter.com/D63JFofoSN
— FATF (@FATFNews) October 11, 2019
The Hammad Azhar-led delegation also includes Sohail Rajput, the Additional Secretary Finance, alongside representatives from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
Sources close to the developments reveal that this crucial FATF session will deliberate a report on the measures taken by the Pakistani authorities since April 2019, to decide whether Pakistan should be eliminated from the much-dreaded FATF grey list.
2-Day FATF Session in Paris
The 2-day session of the intergovernmental organization held in the French capital will review the measures taken by Islamabad to curb terror financing and abetting. According to the details divulged by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Pakistan has fulfilled 20 of the recommended measures.
Sources reveal that Pakistan has implemented the majority of the measures proposed by the FATF, including banning terror organizations. Moreover, Islamabad has taken steps to seize the properties belonging to terrorists, and forbid them from taking part in any commercial activity.
The biggest pressure that has come on Pakistan today is because of the proceedings of FATF
Earlier this month, the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering published a report on Pakistan’s money laundering and terror financing dynamics, stating that Islamabad is fully compliant with 36 of the 40 parameters established by the FATF when it added Pakistan to the grey list.
The APG report revealed the technical compliance ratings, which show that Pakistan is fully compliant with one parameter, largely compliant with nine, and partially compliant with 26 of the 40 parameters.
Pakistan’s “Three Friends”
Analysts observe that Pakistan’s close friendship with China, Malaysia, and Turkey will help it evade the possibility of being downgraded from the FATF’s grey list to black.
The FATF is currently led by China, and its members include Malaysia, Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If the decision of downgrading “close friend” Pakistan is put to vote, China, Malaysia, and Turkey are most likely to vote against it.
— Times of lsIamabad (@TimesofIslambad) October 13, 2019
Speaking to media, strategic expert and Pakistan-focused Indian analyst, Kumar Verma said, “The APG has recommended that Pakistan should be downgraded from grey to black. But the APG is not empowered to downgrade, which comes from the FATF.”
It is important to note that a minimum of three votes will be sufficient to prevent Pakistan from being blacklisted. Kumar said, “At the FATF, if the three countries – China, Malaysia, and Turkey — say that Pakistan should not be downgraded from grey to black, then it will not.”
The Indian analyst added, “And the three countries will vote that Pakistan should not be downgraded to black.”
Meanwhile, India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, urged a gathering of the country’s anti-terrorism squad chiefs to focus on collecting accurate and sustainable information that can be used at international platforms to pile up the pressure on Pakistan, in light of the FATF proceedings.
Doval said, “The biggest pressure that has come on Pakistan today is because of the proceedings of FATF. We should continue with our efforts to collect correct, sustainable information which can be put up in international platforms effectively.”
“Biggest pressure that has come on Pakistan today is because of the proceedings of FATF. We should continue with our efforts to collect correct, sustainable information which can be put up in international platforms effectively": NSA Ajit Doval. pic.twitter.com/NK7PjI4wTO
— NDTV (@ndtv) October 14, 2019
Doval further added, as cited by NDTV, “Pakistan has been using terrorism as the instrument of state policy. We all know Pakistan sponsors terrorism but in international forums we need evidence. Don’t destroy this evidence… you have plenty of it. Let the world know about it.”
Lead story now on https://t.co/Fbzw6mR9Q5
— NDTV (@ndtv) October 14, 2019
Analysts maintain that Pakistan is highly unlikely to be downgraded to FATF’s blacklist as it is largely compliant with 36 out of the 40 measures proposed by the intergovernmental organization.
Get ready for the media propaganda telling you otherwise.
36 out of 40 means 90% compliance. 90% compliance is an great sign of progress.
Insha Allah good days ahead.
— Mir Mohammad Alikhan (@MirMAKOfficial) October 6, 2019