- Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry says FATF members also congratulated country for completing both action plans
Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan hailed his former energy minister Hammad Azhar-led Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Coordination Committee’s efforts behind the money laundering watchdog’s announcement that Pakistan had met all 34 items on two separate action plans.
In its announcement on Friday, the Paris-based body said that it will schedule an on-site visit to verify the implementation and sustainability of the country's money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures.
Pakistan will be taken off the FATF grey list if it successfully passes the on-site visit, it said.
Appreciating the development, the former premier said that FATF repeatedly praised the work and political will his government demonstrated.
“After assuming power [in 2018], we faced the direct prospect of blacklisting by the body,” Imran Khan said, adding that the country’s compliance history with the FATF was also not favourable.
“I constituted a FATF Coordination Committee headed by key minister Hammad Azhar. The committee had representation from all government departments and security agencies relevant to our FATF action plan. The officers worked day and night in the first instance to avoid blacklisting.
“FATF repeatedly praised the work and the political will my government demonstrated. We not only averted blacklisting, but also completed 32 out of 34 action items. We submitted a compliance report on the remaining two items in April based on which FATF now declared Pakistan's Action Plan as completed,” he said.
The PTI chief believed that the FATF's on-site visit would also be a success that would pave the way for Pakistan’s ouster from the grey list.
He also lauded Azhar, saying the former energy minister, members of his FATF coordination committee and relevant officers had “performed exceptionally well.”
“The whole country is proud of you,” he said.
His comments come after the money-laundering watchdog reviewed and acknowledged Pakistan’s progress on FATF Action Plans (2018 and 2021) in its plenary meetings held in Berlin on 13-17 June 2022, and authorised an on-site visit to Pakistan as a final step to exit from the FATF’s grey list.
Foreign affairs ministry hails development
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that FATF members, while participating in the discussion on the country's progress, congratulated Pakistan for completing both Action Plans covering 34 items, and especially on the early completion of the 2021 Action Plan in a record timeframe.
"Pakistan continued its relentless efforts towards successful completion of these Action Plans despite many challenges including the COVID 19 pandemic," it said in a statement issued after the FATF's announcement.
"Pakistan has covered a lot of ground in the AML/CFT domain during implementation of FATF Action Plans. The engagement with FATF has led to the development of a strong AML/CFT framework in Pakistan and resulted in improving of our systems to cope with future challenges.
The Pakistan delegation, which attended FATF Plenary meetings in Berlin, was led by Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs / Chairperson National FATF Coordination Committee, it added.