The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to maintain Pakistan's status on its 'grey list' of countries with inadequate control over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing, media has reported.
Talking to media via video link, the FATF President Marcus Pleyer said, “The plenary has decided to keep Pakistan in 'grey list' until February 2021 despite the country has successfully complied with 21 out of 27 points of action”
The global watchdog reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan for addressing anti-money laundering and terror financing.
“Pakistan has to do more,” said the FATF President. "To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021."
Commenting on a query about whether Pakistan in safe from the black list or not, he said, “Let me clear, Pakistan is in the gray list, the country has made great progress and the government has cooperated too. We hope by our next deadline they would address the remaining six points of action.”
“Pakistan has achieved impressive progress on its FATF action plan. 21 out of 27 action items now stand cleared. Remaining 6 rated as partially complete. Within a year, we progressed from 5/27 to 21/27 completed items. FATF acknowledged that any blacklisting is off the table now,” Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar tweeted.
“Instead of current Action Plan, discussions remained focused on how Pakistan can be facilitated for our upcoming 2nd evaluation (MER), due mid next year. I congratulate our Federal and Provincial Teams who have worked day and night even during the pandemic to ensure this turn around,” he added.
In an attempt to undermine Pakistan and Saudi Arabia's ties, anti-state elements circulated rumours on social media platforms on October 22 that Saudi Arabia has voted against Pakistan in the meeting of the FATF, creating widespread alarm among the people. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected the news terming it as baseless.
The fake news trended on top on twitter as people questioned its authenticity. Most twitter handlers said that the news could not be true as the voting will be held on October 23 while some termed it a move to damage ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Later, a statement issued by Foreign Office categorically rejected the story terming it as false.
The FO stated that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong fraternal ties and the two countries have always cooperated with each other on all matters of bilateral, regional and international importance.
Inclusion in grey list
Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.
In October 2019, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list till February, giving it time to implement the 27-point action plan.
The task force directed Islamabad to take more measures for complete elimination of terror financing and money laundering while expressing serious concerns over the lack of progress in addressing terror financing risks.
The FATF met again in January this year in Beijing where Pakistan provided a list of actions taken to implement the action plan.
Later in October, Pakistan received another extension on the “grey list”, as the FATF plenary session decided to continue all countries under scrutiny for Terror Financing and Money Laundering until October 2020.