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Pakistan completes all 27 items in FATF 2018 action plan: sources

Sources said Pakistan would likely get some good news during FATF's next meeting to be held from June 13 to 17.

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Foreign Office sources said that Pakistan has completed all 27 times in its Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan, raising the possibility of its exit from the so-called grey list, ARY News reported.

It cited the Foreign Office sources as saying that the supervision of relevant matters has been handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), which has decided to adopt a “cautious strategy”.

Reportedly, the diplomatic sources said the Paris-based watchdog would hold a four-day meeting in Berlin from June 13 to 17. The plenary session will consider Pakistan’s review on June 15 and 16.

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State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will accompany the delegation to Berlin to represent Pakistan in the meeting.

Sources said Pakistan is likely to get some good news during the meeting as it has met all the targets to get out of the grey list.

Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.

In the last plenary session, FATF announced that Pakistan has completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan.

According to a report issued by the watchdog in March, “Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to address its deficiencies, the country’s continued political commitment has led to significant progress across a comprehensive counter-terrorist financing action plan”.

“The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address, as soon as possible, the one remaining item — prosecutions and convictions — to demonstrate that its investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups. ”

“In response to additional deficiencies later identified in FATF’s 2019 report, in June 2021, Pakistan provided further high-level commitment to address these strategic deficiencies pursuant to a new action plan that primarily focuses on combating money laundering. ”

“The FATF noted that since June 2021, Pakistan has taken swift steps towards improving its deficiencies and completed 6 of the 7 action items ahead of any relevant deadlines expiring”.

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“The FATF urged Pakistan to continue to work to address the one remaining item in its 2021 action plan by demonstrating a positive and sustained trend of pursuing complex money laundering investigations and prosecutions “.

In April, a court in Pakistan sentenced the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, to 31 years in prison in two cases of terrorism financing. The US and India blamed the group for the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege.

Commenting on the conviction, Michael Kugelman, a US scholar of South Asian affairs, had said that the sentencing “could help Pakistan escape the FATF grey list as its last action item to be completed involves convictions.”