Pakistan said on Saturday it was working closely with the FATF to schedule an early on-site visit by its experts to review the country’s progress on countering terrorism financing and money laundering before removing Islamabad from the gray list.
Pakistan will remain on the “grey list” of countries under increased surveillance by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing agency said in a statement on Friday.
It said Pakistan could be removed from the list after an on-site visit to review implementation of its reforms to counter terrorist financing mechanisms.
“Pakistan will not be removed from the gray list today. It will be removed if the on-site visit shows that its actions are sustainable,” said outgoing FATF President Marcus Pleyer.
He said a formal announcement of Pakistan’s removal will follow an on-site inspection to be conducted before October.
Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who led the Pakistani delegation to the FATF plenary session in Berlin, said the government is working closely with the global watchdog to schedule the visit at a mutually convenient time and process ahead of the FATF plenary session could be completed in October.
Pakistan has been on the Paris-based FATF gray list since June 2018 for failing to screen money laundering that led to terrorist financing and was given an action plan to complete the task by October 2019.
“The on-site visit marks the beginning of the end [of the] process that will eventually culminate in Pakistan’s exit from the gray list, hopefully forever,” Khar said.
Regarding the dates for the on-site assessment, the minister said the authorities concerned were working closely with the FATF to arrange their team’s visit at mutually convenient times to complete the process ahead of the October plenary session.
“The 2018 action plan has been finalized and no further action is pending from Pakistan,” Khar said.
She said Pakistan has submitted three progress reports to the FATF on the 2021 action plan related to money laundering.
“I am pleased to report that Pakistan completed the entire seven-point action plan a year ahead of schedule,” the minister said.
With Pakistan remaining on the gray list, Islamabad has found it increasingly difficult to obtain financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, further compounding the country’s problems.
Pakistan has so far avoided being blacklisted with the help of close allies like China, Turkey and Malaysia.
The FATF is an intergovernmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
The FATF currently has 39 members, including two regional organizations – the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF Consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.
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