ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘grey list’, giving it four more months – June 20, 2021 – to complete its full action plan.
Speaking at a news conference in a virtual format after the four-day FATF Plenary held in Paris, the FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said that to date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and it has now largely addressed 24 out of 27 items of the action plan.
“As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATE strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan before June 2021,” he said, adding that Pakistan would not be on the agenda of the FATF’s April Plenary and it would be on the agenda on the plenary to be held from June 20-25, 2021.
He said that Pakistan should continue to work on implementing the three remaining items in its action plan to address its strategically important deficiencies, namely by: (I) demonstrating that TF [terror financing] investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities: (2) demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions: and (3) demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf.
He said that Pakistan remains under increased monitoring, adding that while the FATF recognized the significant progress made by Pakistan, and some serious deficiencies remain. He said that all of these areas relate to terror financing, three out of 27 points need to be fully addressed.
He said the FATF took note of the significant progress made on the entire action plan. He pointed out that since June 2018 when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering/ Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, Pakistan’s continued political commitment has led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan.
He said the significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan included by demonstrating that law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity, demonstrating enforcement against IFS violations, and working to prevent the raising and moving of funds including by controlling facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons and entities.
Responding to a question, the FATF president made it clear that Pakistan has made a commitment at the highest level that it will complete its full action plan on the remaining three items before June 2021. He said that as soon as Pakistan completes its full action on these items, the FAFT members would decide about its future status with regard to removal from its ‘grey list’.
“It is not the time to put the country [Pakistan] on the [FATF] black list, as Pakistan has committed at the highest level that it would complete its full action plan before June,” he said, adding that all the deadlines have been expired and Pakistan needs to fully comply with the action plan swiftly.
To another question as to why the FATF is not taking action against India for its involvement in terror financing to the UN Security Council’s designated terror outfits in Afghanistan to carry out terrorist activities inside Pakistan, the FATF president said that India is also subject to the rules of the forums like other countries. He said that FATF would also assess India ‘when the time comes’.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021