Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has expressed the hope that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global illicit financing watchdog, would delist Pakistan from its grey list at its next plenary meeting.
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s ‘grey list’ for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since 2018.
Pakistan has so far fully complied with 24 of the 27 actions recommended by FATF. It was, however, deemed to have crucially fallen short on action against the organisations linked to the terror groups listed by the UN Security Council; and prosecution and conviction of banned individuals. Similarly, it was said to have done little to tackle terror financing through narcotics and smuggling of precious stones.
On the last Thursday, the FM said that Saudi Arabia fully supported Pakistan on the FATF issue. “Saudi Arabia completely supported us on FATF,” Qureshi said on SAMAA TV’s show Nadeem Malik Live. “On the whole, they have been endorsing our stance.”
The foreign minister said he expects Riyadh to vote in favour of Pakistan whenever the next FATF meeting takes place. Pakistan has taken such concrete and comprehensive measures that it should no longer be on the FATF grey list, he said.
Pakistan submits latest report
Pakistan has submitted its compliance report on implementation of the remaining three key out of total 27 action plans to the FATF to come out of its grey list.
“We have submitted our compliance progress report on three remaining points out of total 27 action plans,” top official sources confirmed with local media.
“The face to face meeting for gauging Pakistan’s progress was scheduled during Eid holidays but now on our request its scheduled changed and now it would be held after Eid holidays.”
Amid COVID-19, Pakistan was granted extension and now the fresh deadline is next month. Pakistan made progress on 24 points while on remaining 3 points Islamabad submitted its compliance for review in upcoming plenary FATF review meeting expected to take place in June.
Hammad Azhar, former minister for industries and production and now minister for energy will continue to act as the chairman of the National Coordination Group of anti-money laundering (AML) / combating of financing of terrorism (CFT), according to an official announcement.
Over the years, Pakistan has demonstrated significant progress, more work is required to mainstream FATF/APG safeguards across various sectors of the economy and national and sub national systems.
The FATF takes note of the significant progress made on the entire action plan. To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 24 of the 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan before June.