SLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided in principle that Pakistan will remain on its grey list till next February and directed Islamabad to take ‘extra measures’ for ‘complete’ elimination of terror financing and money laundering.
An FATF meeting in Paris on Tuesday reviewed the measures that Islamabad has already taken to control money laundering and terror financing. However, the meeting observed that Islamabad will have to take further steps in these four months.
The FATF has linked the blacklisting of Pakistan with unsatisfactory steps to curb money laundering and terror financing. The FATF will make final decision in Feb 2020.
A formal announcement about these developments will be made on Oct 18 this year.
The spokesperson for the finance ministry, Omar Hameed Khan was approached to verify the news but he said that “it is not true and nothing before October 18”.
Islamabad urged to take extra measures to avoid plunging into black list
But, Paris-based correspondent of Aaj TV Younus Khan confirmed to Dawn on phone that the FATF has decided to give an additional respite of four months to Pakistan to help her implement remaining recommendations.
“My sources have confirmed to me about these developments,” Mr Khan said, adding that a formal statement in this regard will be issued on Friday, the last day of the latest FATF session.
A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar told the meeting that Islamabad has made positive progress in 20 out of 27 points. The FATF expressed satisfaction on the measures taken by Pakistan and its progress in various areas.
Mr Azhar could not be contacted to get official response despite attempts.
Six days of FATF meetings will focus on disrupting financial flows linked to crimes and terrorism and discuss ways to contribute to global safety and security.
China, Turkey and Malaysia appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan.
Meanwhile, representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions around the world, the IMF, UN, World Bank and other organisations are attending the meeting.
At the Tuesday meeting, India has recommended to blacklist Pakistan on the plea that Islamabad has allowed Hafiz Saeed to withdraw funds from his frozen accounts.
Concerns were also raised on the tax amnesty scheme offered in Pakistan.
On the outright support extended by Turkey, China and Malaysia, the FATF decided not to include Pakistan on the blacklist and give it more time to implement the remaining measures.
The decision to stay on grey list is still considered a success of the government. Moreover, the FATF also acknowledged the steps already taken by Pakistan to prevent money laundering and terrorists’ access to financial sources. The FATF stressed the need for further implementation of the action plan by Pakistan.
According to the FATF charter comprising 36 countries, the support of at least three countries is required to not blacklist any country.
In August 2019, the Asia-Pacific Group, a regional affiliate of the FATF, also expressed concern over Pakistan’s performance due to technical flaws. Islamabad is obligated to report its performance to the Group every three months.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019