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Pakistan makes significant progress on all 27 benchmarks under FATF Action Plan

Money laundering, terror financing, and other illegal activities in Pakistan were the three main concerns the country had to tackle before the Task Force's plenary meeting this year.

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According to reports, Pakistan has made considerable progress on all the 27 benchmarks set in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan. Pakistan had sent a compliance report to FATF last to reviews its progress on the Action Plan, which will be done during a three-day-long plenary meeting on the 22nd, 24th, and 25th of February.

Sources in the Pakistani government are optimistic that their compliance report would get Pakistan out of the FATF grey list. “From our side, we are very sure that all the benchmarks set in FATF Action Plan have been achieved. We have exhausted all possible options to make sure that all the 27 requirements are met and we believe we have achieved this target. Now it’s up to them (FATF) how they see the progress we have made and what decisions they take,” sources told Business Recorder.

It is pertinent to note here that money laundering, terror financing, and other illegal activities in Pakistan were the three main concerns the country had to tackle before the Task Force’s plenary meeting this year.

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“There have been very important parliamentary legislation related to Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). And there has been strong action against proscribed organizations. Courts have sentenced lengthy jail terms to top leaders of certain proscribed organizations due to strong prosecution,” another source in the government told Business Recorder.

In accordance with Pakistan’s commitments to the Task Force, a Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) was established under the State Bank of Pakistan to enable efficient monitoring of the financial transactions, revealed sources.

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Hammad Azhar, the Federal Minister for Industries and Production will be representing Pakistan in the Financial Action Task Force plenary meeting.

Pakistan was added to FATF’s grey list or formally known as “jurisdictions under increased monitoring”, in June of 2018, because it failed to properly curb terror financing and money laundering in the country, according to FATF.

Moreover, last year in February, FATF had shown concern over “Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the terrorist financing risks emanating from the jurisdiction.” After which FATF and International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) provided an Action Plan to Pakistan comprising 27 points that it needed to achieve.

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Furthermore, by October 2020, Pakistan had achieved 21 out of the total 27 points of the issued Action Plan and was given until February 2021 to achieve all of them.

Addressing the press last week, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, who is a Foreign Office Spokesperson, stated ” FATF had assessed Pakistan to have completed 21 of the 27 Action Items under the current Action Plan. In the remaining six partially addressed items, significant progress has been made by Pakistan, which is duly acknowledged by the wider FATF membership. Pakistan remains committed to completing its FATF Action Plan.”

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