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ISLAMABAD: Describing the recent onsite visit of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) technical team as “smooth and successful”, Foreign Office on Wednesday said that Pakistan is looking forward to a logical conclusion to the ongoing evaluation process in the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) and plenary meetings, scheduled to be held in the third week of October in Paris.

Responding to media queries about news stories that recently appeared in domestic media about Pakistan’s current engagement with FATF and progress in the AML/CFT [anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism] domain, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that pursuant to the authorization of onsite visit by FATF Plenary in June 2022, a FATF technical team recently visited Pakistan and held detailed discussions with relevant agencies.

“From our perspective, it was a smooth and successful visit,” he said, adding that the focus of the visit was to validate on ground Pakistan’s high-level commitment and sustainability of reforms in our AML/CFT regime. The meetings with the FATF team were held in a constructive and positive atmosphere.

He said that the report of the FATF onsite team will be discussed in FATF’s ICRG and plenary meetings, scheduled to be held in the third week of October 2022 in Paris. “Pakistan is looking forward to [a] logical conclusion to the ongoing evaluation process,” he added.

As regards the status of Pakistan’s progress, he stated that FATF’s latest evaluation of Pakistan supersedes its findings in previous years. As a result of Pakistan’s strenuous and consistent efforts over the last four years, he added that Pakistan has not only achieved a high degree of technical compliance with FATF standards it has also ensured a high level of effectiveness through the implementation of two comprehensive FATF action plans, and it is committed to continuing its efforts in this regard.

With regard to technical compliance with FATF standards, the spokesperson said that Pakistan has now been rated as Compliant / Largely Compliant in 38 out of 40 FATF recommendations, which places the country among the top compliant countries in the world.

“Completion of both Action Plans by Pakistan in June 2022 is, in fact, an acknowledgement by FATF of attaining a high level of effectiveness on FATF standards,” he stated.

Over last four years, he added that Pakistan’s effectiveness in AML/CFT regime has increased across all immediate outcomes, which has significantly mitigated risks and threats of money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The FATF’s 15-member delegation, comprising its counterterrorism experts visited Pakistan from August 29 to September 5, 2022 and held meetings with the country’s leadership, besides getting briefings from relevant authorities on Pakistan’s implemented reforms, particularly the critical measures undertaken with regard to AML/CFT.

The FATF technical team was comprised of counterterrorism and money-laundering experts from the member countries with exception of India, which had been lobbying for a long to push Pakistan into the watchdog’s backlist by leveraging its political and economic standing among the member countries.

Pakistan was added to the FATF’s grey list in June 2018 for deficiencies in its system to curb money laundering and terror financing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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