The global watchdog for money laundering and terror financing has prepared a preliminary report on Pakistan’s progress on the implementation of the 27-point action plan and will present it at FATF’s next plenary meeting from June 21, according to a media report. The report has been prepared by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG), which includes the US, the UK, France, China and India.
Currently placed on the FATF’s ‘grey list’, Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the global watchdog, a measure that officials here fear could further hurt its economy. The Express Tribune quoted sources in the Ministry of Finance as saying that Pakistan’s progress was reviewed at a virtual meeting of the ICRG by international observers on Tuesday.
According to the sources, Pakistan has implemented 26 of the 27-point FATF action plan. There is partial progress on the point of conviction. Relevant laws have been amended. Therefore, it is hoped that there will be good news for Pakistan at the FATF’s Plenary Session starting from June 21 to 25, the report said on Monday.
However, sources said that in view of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan is likely to remain on the grey list as it would require two to three more months to implement the remaining one point. But in terms of performance, Pakistan is very optimistic that it will get good news from the FATF, the report said.
According to the report, the situation is likely to change further by September when the US withdraws its troops from Afghanistan and due to Pakistan’s best strategy, the influence of the FATF is expected to be diminished. Until this last meeting, Pakistan had implemented 24 points. The FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018, urging Islamabad to implement a 27-point action plan to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019. However, the deadline was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In February, the FATF gave a fourth extension to Pakistan to fully implement a 27-point action plan and “strongly urged" it to meet the remaining three conditions about terror financing investigations and the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Against the government’s hopes of exiting the grey list, the FATF plenary found the country’s progress on three out of the remaining six points less than satisfactory. Pakistan would remain on the grey list till June 2021, a statement issued by the FATF from Paris had said.