Pakistan has once again reaffirmed its commitment to make positive progress on the action plan of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and would come out of its ‘grey list’ in 2020. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Wednesday said that his government was willing to carry out all the guidelines given by the FATA. Recently, Pakistan managed to avoid being blacklisted despite Indian propaganda. Sources told GVS that the support by China, Turkey and Malaysia helped Pakistani to get some more time to come out of the grey list.
Pakistan made it to the FATF grey list in 2012 but managed to extract itself out of the allegations of terror financing by 2015. On June 29, 2018, Pakistan, once again, found itself on the grey list. The FATF had given Islamabad 15 months to implement a 27-point action plan, with a stern warning of being added to the blacklist if it fails to comply.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, who led the Pakistani delegation at FATF’s five-day plenary in Paris last week, was addressing a press conference in Islamabad and said that the country’s progress had been duly recognized in the watchdog’s September report. He said considerable progress had been made on many points of the action plan in a short period of 10 months. Till September, action on five out of the 27 items of the FATF action plan was incomplete while that on the rest was largely or partially complete.
Pakistan's FATF progress in 10 months: From 25 incomplete items in Jan 2019 to just 5 incomplete in September.
A cordinated effort is now underway to bring closure to all the partially complete items in order to upgrade from the grey list in 2020 to the white list. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/tgNFhXzHJe
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) October 20, 2019
Mr. Azhar also said some sections were campaigning to have the action plans of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) and International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of FATF merged which could have created a lot of difficulties for Pakistan with the number of action items exceeding 100. Completion of action plans of both APG and ICRG by February next year would not have been feasible for Pakistan, he added.
The minister lauded the Financial Monitoring Unit, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the armed forces, law enforcement agencies, provincial governments and Federal Board of Revenue for their efforts to achieve the action plan’s objectives.
He said the final report of Pakistan’s progress after September will be submitted to the FATF in January, ahead of its next plenary.
It is worth mentioning that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has given Pakistan a four-month extension with a strong push to undertake swift actions to fulfill the entire action plan by February 2020. Until then, Islamabad will remain on the FATF’s grey list.
— Waseem Abbasi (@Wabbasi007) October 18, 2019
In the case of Pakistan, the global terror financing watchdog has issued a stern report of Islamabad’s “overall lack of progress” in addressing terror financing risks.
The statement issued by the FATF said, “While noting recent improvements, the FATF again expresses serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its TF risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risks, and more broadly, Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the TF risks emanating from the jurisdiction.”
It further added, “To date, Pakistan has only largely addressed five of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan. The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020.”
Pakistan is committed to complete the FATF action plan and this is what the country intends to do for improving its own economy, and not just for the FATF, Pakistan’s premier has clarified it more than once.