FATF to discuss Pakistan in week of decisive meetings
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: A week of meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was set to start Sunday during which the international watchdog, which monitors global money laundering and terror financing, will discuss progress made by Pakistan.
The FATF plenary and working group meetings are set to run from February 16 till Feb 21 in Paris, France.
According to an update shared on the FATF website, six days of the meeting will “focus on global action to follow the money that fuels crime and terrorism and reduce the harm caused to people and society”. This will be followed by a plenary from February 19.
As per FATF, the important issues to be discussed include progress made by countries such as Iran and Pakistan “that present a risk to the financial system”.
The Pakistani delegation will be headed by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar. It will include members of both the foreign ministry and interior ministry as well as State Bank of Pakistan and the financial monitoring unit (FMU) officials.
The Paris based watchdog had placed Pakistan on a list of countries that have failed to eradicate money laundering and where terrorists can still raise funds for their activities. If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.
In October 2019, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list till February, giving it time to implement a 27-point action plan. The FATF met again in January this year in Beijing where Pakistan provided a list of actions taken to implement the action plan.
Ahead of this week’s FATF meetings, government sources on Saturday said both the political and security establishment feel confident about pleading the Pakistan’s case on the basis of strong measures taken over the past few years while addressing the concerns raised by the FATF.
A source said that the government had taken many measures to address the concerns raised by the FATF but it was “unfortunate that [the] lease is being shown in the media”.