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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar on Saturday termed the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) decision to retain Pakistan on its grey list for another four months as the 'diplomatic victory' for the government.

The Paris-based money laundering and terror financing watchdog, while noting Pakistan had fulfilled 21 of the 27 conditions required, gave the country until Feb 2021 to complete the remaining conditions.

FATF president Marcus Pleyer while addressing a press conference via video-link has said on Friday once Pakistan completes all 27 action points, the agency officials will visit to witness the ground situation.

Azhar, while responding to critics took the Twitter and said "FATF has acknowledged our high-level political commitment and significant progress."

On the other day Twitter handle having large following had claimed Afghanistan, Thailand and India had voted against Pakistan. Some of the accounts also claimed that Saudi Arabia also voted against Pakistan.

However, Azhar observed some countries mentioned in the 'fake news' were not even members of the terror watchdog. "Pakistan enjoys broad international support and cooperation on FATF," he added.

The industries minister, who led the Pakistani delegation to the virtual plenary, said "Blacklisting Pakistan was now off the table." He observed some circles were propagating "false and baseless information about abstention or negative voting in the meeting".

Clearing the air, the minister said no voting criterion was applied for the decision.

"Yesterday's consensus decision without any voting is our diplomatic victory," he tweeted.

Pakistan was placed on the "increased monitoring list" more commonly known as the grey-list in June 2018, which identifies countries being monitored for compliance by the agency.

The country was due for a review in June but was granted a reprieve because of the Covid-19 pandemic when the body temporarily postponed all mutual evaluations and follow-up deadlines. Once a country is placed on the grey-list, it is directly scrutinized by the FATF until measures taken to curb terror financing and money laundering have been achieved. Countries on the blacklist have significant strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money-laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020