FATF to judge Pakistan’s exit from grey list in Paris meeting from Feb 16
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is expected to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list soon after winning a “largely-compliant” rating from the global illicit financing watchdog on the implementation of its 27 action points, which might help the government get more time from the watchdog for full compliance.
The meeting is set to take place in Paris from February 16. Pakistan will be judged by an FATF plenary meeting in the meeting on the basis of the Joint Group’s report, concluded last month, for a possible exit from the ‘grey list’ or at least avoiding an entry into the black list.
Sources familiar with the matter told the media on Monday that Pakistan needs only 12 out of 39 votes for exiting the grey list.
Pakistan has already gained full support from China, Turkey and Malaysia, and aims to obtain 12 votes with escalated diplomatic campaign. Pakistan has ensured significant implementation on most of the recommendations and took necessary actions.
On Jan. 28, the State Bank stated that Pakistan had made significant progress to get off the grey list of the FATF while the central bank had been making all-out efforts to curb money laundering and terror financing. While announcing the monetary policy with unchanged interest rate of 13.25 percent, SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir said that the last two reviews in May and September showed that Pakistan had made significant progress in most of the 27 points raised by the FATF.
However, he said, the FATF was the final authority to decide if the progress was enough to pull Pakistan out of the grey list, adding that the country would have to continue making progress in this direction.
Last month, despite strict opposition from India, several FATF’s Working Group members including the European Union and the United States had expressed satisfaction while reviewing Pakistan’s performance report from October 2019 till January 2020 in compliance with the global illicit financing watchdog’s action plan carrying 27 recommendations about the country’s anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) mechanism.
The Pakistani delegation led by the Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, last month, had presented the report in a meeting with the Working Group in Beijing, and explained measures taken and progress made by the country in stopping funding of terrorists and eradication of money laundering since October last year.
The delegation had apprised the group about the implementation of 22 of the FATF’s recommendations in particular, and that a ban has been imposed on terrorist organisations together with amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act in the light of those recommendations. The FATF’s group was informed that penalties and sentences have been increased in the amendments.
The group had also reviewed answers given by Pakistan in a 650-page report to the global financial watchdog, and it will be considered by the body’s meeting starting from Feb. 16 in Paris.