The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based global anti-money laundering watchdog, is scheduled to meet today to review Pakistan’s progress in implementing its plan of action in 27 points. The meeting will formally start from today (Monday) and last until February 21.
The Pakistani delegation, led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, is in Paris to attend the FATF’s plenary meeting from February 16 to 21. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) found Pakistan fully compliant 14 points from the 27-point action plan, showing that the country is progressing to meet all of its conditions.
The current FATF plenary in Paris will decide the fate of Pakistan this week with two possibilities: First is exclude Pakistan from the grey list and put it on the white list and second is continue to register the country on the grey list for a further three to six months.
Pakistan’s chances of being blacklisted have completely disappeared given the progress made over the past year. Although India has moved heaven and earth to blacklist Pakistan, all of its harmful designs have come a cropper.
Pakistan has demonstrated success, as both the military and civilian leadership are on one page. After getting 14 points on technical grounds, Pakistan will need political and diplomatic efforts to get out of the grey list.
When this correspondent contacted the Pakistani authorities currently in Paris, they said all things were confidential and any official response would be available only after the conclusion of the plenary meeting.
However, top official sources confirmed that the FATF joint group in its submitted report related to the ongoing plenary meeting at Paris had declared Pakistan compliant on fresh nine points. Earlier, Islamabad was cleared on five points.
At the plenary meeting in October 2019, Pakistan was declared fully compliant on five points which are (1) understanding risks of Counter Financing Terrorist (CFT) by the financial sector (2) outreach sessions of Anti Money Laundering (AML) and CFT for the financial institutions (3) developing an integrated database at airports (4) mechanism to publicize designated persons and entities and (5) Terrorist Financing (TF) specific units and analysis done by Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The recent FATF joint group meeting in China had transmitted its conclusions to the plenary meeting showing that Pakistan was fully complying with nine of the remaining 22 points. Thus, overall, Pakistan became compliant on 14 points for technical reasons.
This time the joint group declared Pakistan compliant on (1) audit of financial institutions by the State Bank of Pakistan (2) Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) dissemination and analysis done by FMU (3) terror financing risk assessment and its implementation (4) inter-coordination mechanism of federal & provincial departments (5) parallel investigations by Counter Terrorism Departments (CTDs (6) risk assessment of cash smuggling (7) implementation of domestic cooperation to counter cash smuggling (8) understanding TF by the judiciary through conducting awareness and training session (9) risk-based outreach of Designated Non-Banking Financial Institutions (DNBFI) and Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs).
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