The fact that Pakistan has finally received assurances from the FATF that it will receive an on-site visit to verify the “implementation and sustainability of the country’s money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures” before being formally removed from the task force’s increased monitoring (grey) list is the best outcome we could have hoped for from the current review.
As a result, once the on-site assessment is completed in October, Pakistan should be removed from the grey list.
The global money-laundering and terrorist-financing watchdog announced at its recent Berlin plenary that Pakistan has substantially completed two action plans, complying with all 34 items, demonstrating that the “necessary political commitment to sustain implementation and improvement in the future” remains in place.
“Pakistan demonstrated that terror-financing investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upward trend in the number of money-laundering investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan,” according to the watchdog.
This assessment of Pakistan’s attempts to get off the grey list is based mostly on the previous PTI government’s substantial work to fulfil two demanding action plans assigned to it for compliance to avoid being blacklisted at the same time.
However, it would be wrong not to acknowledge the coalition government’s use of diplomatic channels to assist the country’s removal from the list. According to sources, China has recently been quietly assisting Islamabad on this front.
Many people believe that the decision is also a sign of unspoken US support.
If this is correct, it suggests that we are getting closer to restoring the IMF rescue, even if we aren’t quite there yet.
The country’s credit rating will increase once it is officially removed from the list, providing foreign investors more confidence. Several acts taken in the last four years would not have been possible without the military’s approval, indicating that the army has remained supportive of civilian efforts to remove themselves from the list.
Last but not least, Pakistan’s case must have been bolstered by the conviction of outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed on terrorism-related charges.
Despite the efforts of certain foreign powers to have Pakistan blacklisted, Pakistan’s achievement in satisfying FATF’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist-financing standards in an unusually short time frame should not make the authorities comfortable, as has been the case previously.
Since 2008, we’ve been on the grey list three times. Being relegated to the list would have irreversible consequences for the economy and international trade. In the months and years ahead, it is hoped that the country’s civilian and military leadership will continue to demonstrate the highest level of political commitment to address the remaining flaws in the country’s AML/CFT regime, as well as to update and strengthen the relevant laws, regulations, and procedures.
The global money-laundering and terrorist-financing watchdog announced at its recent Berlin plenary that Pakistan has substantially
completed two action plans, complying with all 34 items, demonstrating that the “necessary political commitment to sustain implementation and improvement in the future” remains in place.