ISLAMABAD: Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Friday, expressed the optimism that Pakistan would come out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s “grey list” in June, saying the country is committed to full compliance of the action plan and “considerable progress” has already been made on the remaining three items out of the 27 points.
The minister, who represented Pakistan at the FATF Plenary, which concluded on Thursday and gave Pakistan four more months to complete its full action plan before its next plenary to be held from June 20-25, 2021, said that it was “good news” for Pakistan as the FATF acknowledged the country’s progress on the action plan.
He said Pakistan had complied with 90 percent of the action plan and rest would be completed by June that year.
According to him, Pakistan was given the most challenging action plan of the world amid Covid-19 pandemic, but it vigorously pursued to comply.
“The FATF timelines were tough and the action plan given to Pakistan was world’s toughest action plan, but Pakistan successfully did it as was admitted by FATF members and its Secretariat,” he added.
Initially, when the action plan was given in 2018, he added that Pakistan’s focus was on avoiding blacklisting, which would have caused negative impacts on the country’s economy as well as its image globally.
He said Pakistan had so far completed compliance of 24 out of 27 action points of the FATF, adding the country would come out of the “grey list” after compliance with the remaining three items.
“Pakistan is determined to act against money laundering and terror financing,” he asserted, adding that “considerable progress” has also been made on the remaining three points, which would also be completed by June to completely get the country out of the FATF’s “grey list”.
He said the remaining three points required Pakistan to focus on non-profit organisations’ regulation, “which would require “tougher” measures”.
However, he added the FATF had stated that blacklisting was not an option for Pakistan because of the country’s significant progress made on the action plan.
He said Pakistan had targeted to complete the 27-point action plan on which significant progress had been made, adding the financial systems had even gone ahead of international standards. He pointed out that despite the fact that Pakistan had an option not to report during coronavirus pandemic as was opted by some countries.
“However, we continued the exercise and got the positive outcome,” he added.
“Pakistan was perhaps the only country in the world which was under the FATF’s dual scrutiny as the Mutual Evaluation Report process was underway simultaneously,” he added.
Responding to a question, he said Pakistan was not the only country to be in the FATF’s “grey list”, adding that other countries including some European countries were also included in “grey list” for streamlining their financial and monetary affairs.
To another query, the minister said India misused the FATF platform to push Pakistan into the black list, “but due to the government’s concerted efforts of implementing the action plan, blacklisting is not an option for Pakistan now.”
He added that India was getting exposed on it own with regard to terror financing to non-state actors, and its involvement in terror financing in Pakistan and Afghanistan to destabilise the country’s economy.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021