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‘Pakistan has met all items on FATF’s action plans’, removal subject to on-site visit

Watchdog to schedule on-site visit to verify implementation and sustainability of money laundering and counter-terrorism financing actions

Pakistan has inched closer to removal from Financial Action Task Force’s increased monitoring list [grey list] as the global watchdog has said that the country had met all 34 items on its action plans, with removal from the list subject to an on-site visit.

FATF in a statement said that Pakistan had completed all items on two of its actions plans, which was reflective of the political commitment for implementation and improvement in future.

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The global watchdog’s president, Dr. Marcus Pleyer, said that the reforms implemented by the country were good for the stability and security of the country.

Pleyer said that Pakistan was not being removed from the grey list, and that removal from it was subject to an on-site visit.

He added that Pakistan would have to ensure that it had effectively dealt with money laundering and terror financing.

The statement by the global money laundering and terror-financing watchdog said that the country had demonstrated that its terror financing investigations and prosecutions targetted leaders of United Nations-designated terror groups and there was a positive trend of such investigations.

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The statement added that Pakistan had mostly addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set time.

FATF is to now schedule an on-site visit to gauge the implementation and sustainability of the money laundering and anti-terror financing actions taken by Pakistan, before the country is effectively removed from the grey list.

Following the announcement, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar expressed her congratulations and said that the international community had acknowledged the country’s efforts.

She said that the success was the result of four years of a challenging journey and that the country reaffirmed its resolve to continue the momentum and give the economy a boost.

FATF’s four-day plenary session, that began in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday had delegates from 206 FATF members and observers attending. The observers included international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations, and the World Bank.

FATF’s current plenary session had been the center of focus in Pakistan as the government was hopeful of getting the country out of the grey list.

Media had earlier reported that Pakistan required three votes to get off the FATF grey list. Reports had claimed that Turkey, China and Malaysia had assured the votes as per needs of Islamabad.

BBC had quoted a government official that recent updates showed good signs in Pakistan’s favor. He said that apart from these three countries, other countries would also be vital to help Pakistan get rid of the list. Without quoting the name of the official, BBC had said that after removal from grey list, a FATF team will visit Pakistan for inspection; and the process might take seven to eight months to settle completely.

A massive campaign by Pakistan was launched to get out of the FATF grey list. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Chairperson Pakistan National FATF Coordination Committee Hina Rabbani Khar is representing the country in the important FATF meeting. FATF had put 34 conditions on Pakistan out of which Pakistan had already implemented 32.

The plenary session of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that began in Berlin, Germany on Tuesday ended on Thursday in which discussions were focused on the fight against money laundering and terror financing.

In a social media message, FATF had said that during the session, a report on the ways to tackle illicit financing in real estate sector was discussed. It was discussed that effectiveness of measures to fight money laundering, terrorist financing could not be achieved yet. Swift and decisive measures were advised in the session to curb the menace in order to bring effectiveness in all of FATF’s jurisdiction.

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