Pakistan will remain in the FATF Grey List till June: FATF President

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

25th Feb, 2021. 10:23 pm
Pakistan's FATF panel ranking improves

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has on Thursday announced that Pakistan will remain on its “grey list” till June 2021.

FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer, while making the announcement, said that the global financial watchdog has found Pakistan has completed 24 of 27 points pertaining to terror financing.

At the conclusion of the 4-day Plenary Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the President of the World Watchdog has announced the decisions of the FATF meeting at a news briefing at 9:45 pm Pakistan time.

At the last Plenary Session in October 2020, the FATF announced that Pakistan would remain on the grey list for the remaining 6 objectives of the 27-point Action Plan to Combat Money Laundering and Prevention of Terrorist Financing by February 2021 ۔

The latest review also found shortcomings in the performance of Pakistan’s UN Security Council in cracking down on terrorist organizations and banned individuals, and in cracking down on drug and jewellery trafficking.

Behind-the-scenes talks with key officials and foreign ambassadors over the recent meeting showed that the jury is divided, with officials claiming considerable progress for a positive outcome, but some ambassadors suggested that in the best-case scenario. Pakistan will also remain on the additional watch list until June.

Ahead of the plenary meeting, which begins on February 21, the FATF on Monday briefed all countries on the overall performance.

Based on this development, Pakistan is demonstrating better performance in the FATF’s 2 out of 40 recommendations, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing systems.

It said that Pakistan’s progress in 4 areas of non-compliance, special implementation in 25 cases and implementation of 9 recommendations to a large extent.

However, the plenary meeting was expected to review Pakistan not on the basis of 40 recommendations but on the basis of a 27-point action plan.

The diplomats had said that this time they did not see the same aggressive diplomatic efforts by Islamabad as in the past, especially before the October 2020 plan.

He had said that all options including blacklisting Pakistan, retaining it in the grey list or removing it from the grey list could be discussed in the plenary meeting.

However, it is likely that Pakistan will not be blacklisted as the three members of the FATF, China, Turkey and Malaysia, can withstand all the pressure to downgrade the country.

It depends not only on the friendly relationship but also on the performance.

“From our point of view, we have completed all the action points that tell Pakistan what to do, but sometimes some influential countries can raise objections on a point that no one considers legitimate,” an official said.

It may be recalled that Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018 due to the prevention of financing of terrorism and shortcomings in the anti-money laundering regime.

The behind-the-scenes talks with the concerned officials show that Pakistan is confident that since it has taken action against several religious extremist parties and individuals and arrested and punished them, it will be removed from the grey list.

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