Pakistan remains on FATF 'grey list' till June

The Nation  |  Feb 25, 2021

On Thursday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said that Pakistan remains under "increased monitoring" when it comes to terror financing, therefore, it will remain on the grey list until June 2021.

Speaking via a live video link, the FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said that while FATF recognises Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts, there are still some serious deficiencies that the country needs to address. 

"Out of the 27 conditions, three still need to be addressed," he said. "I recognise Pakistan's efforts, and out of the six tasks that it had to complete, three had been [done] in an outstanding manner, but it  substantially needs to work on the remaining three, particularly in terms of terror financing."

Pleyer stressed that Pakistan must continue to work on the items that it has committed to and make sure that it meets all the requirements, adding that FATF will once again review Pakistan's efforts in June 2021.

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Replying to a question related to terrorists' prosecution in Pakistan, he said that the body is "not an investigative organisation," and that it "does not look at single incidents but takes a look at the entire framework" [to decide a country's status].

Regarding India, he said that the country has been subjected to the "same rules as others," adding that the watchdog would take a look at India when the time comes.

Pleyer added that FATF continues to monitoring financial crimes and terror financing which have become more complicated due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The decision comes after a three-day virtual meeting of the FATF that began on February 22, during which steps taken by Pakistan against terror financing were reviewed.

In this context, Pakistani officials had said that if decisions are to be based on merit, then the country's name will be likely removed from the FATF's grey list.

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According to sources, Pakistan submitted a detailed report on the implementation of the remaining six points that the FATF tasked the country with.

Back in October 2020, FATF had acknowledged that of the 27 conditions that were put forth to Pakistan, 21 had been fulfilled while six were left.

At that time, FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had said that once the remaining six conditions are fulfilled, an "on-site visit" will be approved under which a team from the FATF will visit the country for the next review.

"Our discussions are confidential [...] the members decided by consensus that Pakistan needs to complete these six items for an onsite visit to be granted.

Responding to the development, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that Pakistan had completed as much as 90% of the FATF's action plan.

The minister said that the FATF has acknowledged Pakistan's high-level political commitment since 2018 that led to significant progress.

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"It was also noted by FATF member countries that Pakistan is subject to perhaps the most challenging and comprehensive action plan ever given to any country," he wrote on Twitter.

We are also subject to dual evaluation processes of FATF with differing timelines, the minister said.

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