Pakistan to remain in increased monitoring ‘Grey list’ of FATF

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This Photo shows FATF President Dr. Marcus Pleyer

Islamabad, 22 October 2021 (TDI): The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has announced that Pakistan will remain on the grey list. Pakistan has been on the grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering campaigns since June 2018. Announcing the decision, FATF President Dr. Marcus Pleyer said that Pakistan must complete two parallel programs with a total of 34 items.

The latest implementation plan since June this year has focused on budget cuts. After FATF regional partners or the whole of Pakistan made good progress on this new action plan 4 out of 7 items are now addressed. Dr. Marcus said that financiers make on-site and off-site oversight of non-financial sector businesses and in the implementation of legislative amendments to improve international cooperation.

Pakistan has taken important steps

The action plan devised in 2018, focused on terror financing. The FATF President Dr. Marcus also mentioned that Pakistan is still being tested to deal with 26 of the 27 items. Dr. Marcus added, “Pakistan has taken several important steps but needs to continue to demonstrate that investigations and prosecutions are being carried out at the top level of UN-appointed terror groups.”

All of these reforms are about helping the authorities to prevent corruption, prevent terrorism and organized criminals benefitting from their crime. Dr. Marcus thanked the government for continuing its strong commitment to the process. This demonstrates a clear commitment of the Pakistani government and therefore there is no discussion of blacklisting Pakistan. FATF urges the country to address the remaining 4 items. Dr. Marcus said that adding the government was cooperating with the financial authorities.

Minister of Energy, Hammad Azhar added that only some countries disagreed with the majority on Pakistan’s progress in the terror financing action plan program. We are approaching the consensus number despite challenges our technical status will be confirmed soon.

The FATF makes decisions by consensus

In a question about the Indian minister, they said the Modi government has ensured that Pakistan remains on the gray list. Dr. Marcus said the FATF is a technical organization, and we take our decision by consensus so it is not just one country that makes this decision.

Following the last Plenary hearing in July, Indias Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar said the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had confirmed that Pakistan remained on the Grey FATF list. “Thanks to us, Pakistan is under the FATF lens and was kept on the gray list”. S. Jaishankar was quoted as saying this while addressing a foreign policy training program for BJP leaders.

Refusing to comment on the statement of the Indian minister, Dr. Marcus said the FATF has 39 officials, and the decision on Pakistan is all taken in 

FATF has seen progress in Pakistan

In a statement, the Finance Ministry said FATF had seen significant progress made by Pakistan in both programs. The ministry added; that Pakistan has completed 4 out 7 items on the 2021 action plan. These were completed much before the timeline prescribed by the FATF.

The FATF acknowledges that Pakistan continues its political commitment which led to greater progress. Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) action plan to encourage Pakistan to report progress on investigations and prosecutions.

FATF President Dr. Marcus Pleyer had made it clear that removing Pakistan from the grey list would not be possible. Until both action plans were completed and the members then concluded that the system and efforts in financial risk were sustainable.

The members concluded that the plan and financial risk efforts were underway. Dr. Marcus added that the rules were so clear and consistent that authorities under the extended watch list had to meet all operational points and deal fully with the risks.

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