Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday retained Pakistan on its grey list.
In a briefing, FATF President Marcus Pleyer said that Pakistan has “addressed or largely addressed” 30 of the 34 items of the FATF action plan to curb money laundering and terror financing.
“Pakistan is making good progress and only four action items remain to be completed,” the FATF president said.
Speaking about other decisions taken in today’s meeting, the FATF president said that two countries, Mauritius and Botswana, have been removed from the grey list. Three countries, on the other hand, are coming onto the list — Jordan, Turkey and Mali.
In the previous session, the FATF recognised Pakistan’s progress and efforts to address items in its country action plan that refers to combating terror financing.
‘FATF will undertake next review of Pakistan’s Progress in February’
In a statement, the finance ministry said that FATF has recognized “considerable progress” made by Pakistan on both the Action Plans.
“With regard to the 2021 Action Plan, Pakistan has completed four of the seven Action Plan Items. Pakistan has completed these four Action Plan items much before the timelines prescribed by FATF,” it added.
The progress on remaining three action items is well underway and it is aimed to complete three action items ahead of timelines set by the FATF, it added.
“The Action items that have been completed include amendments in the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2020, AML/CFT supervision of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs), transparency of beneficial ownership information and implementation of Targeted Financial Sanctions for Proliferation Finance by DNFBPs,” read the statement.
The remaining action items in 2021 Action Plan include investigation & prosecution of ML cases, confiscation of assets and UN listings. Regarding the 2018 Action Plan, Pakistan submitted a comprehensive progress report on the last remaining Action Plan item, it added.
“The FATF acknowledged Pakistan’s continued political commitment, which led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT Action Plan and encouraged Pakistan to report further progress on investigation and prosecution,” the statement read.
The statement said that FATF will undertake next review of Pakistan’s Progress in February 2022.
The FATF Plenary meetings were held virtually from 19-21 October 2021, where its members discussed a variety of topics including Pakistan’s progress.
The Pakistan delegation was led by Mr. Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Energy / Chairman National FATF Coordination Committee.
“Pakistan is fully committed to completing its both Action Plans in cooperation with FATF and its international partners,” the statement concluded.
In the previous session in June this year, the FATF recognised Pakistan’s progress and efforts to address items in its country action plan that refers to combating terror financing.
The task force, however, decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list, handing over six new anti-money laundering areas to work on.
“The Pakistani government has made substantial progress in making its counter-terrorist financing systems stronger and more effective. It has largely addressed 26 out of 27 items on the action plan it first committed to in June 2018,” FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had said.
In October last year, FATF noted that Pakistan fully met the targets laid down in 21 of the 27 items of the Action Plan and asked the county to achieve full progress on the Action Plan by February 2021.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the FATF in June 2018.