Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar has said that Pakistan has made significant progress towards combating money laundering and terror financing, but it is too early to speculate on the decision that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) members will take in February.
The minister led a Pakistani delegation during three-day talks with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Beijing. He recently tweeted:
It is premature to comment/speculate on the decision that FATF members shall take in the plenary in February. Pak authorities have worked very hard over the months & I feel we have made significant progress in our AML/CFT efforts. We remain committed to sustaining this momentum.
He further hoped that the attempts by certain parties to politicize the FATF proceedings would be rejected.
The joint group was generally appreciative of Pakistan’s efforts showing satisfactory progress on the majority of the 27-point action plan and it would now finalize its report by February 1 for circulation to all 39 members who will be attending the FATF Plenary and Joint Working Group meetings in Paris on Feb 16-21. Pakistani authorities would need robust diplomatic efforts to get Pakistan off the grey list next month.
According to some media reports, Pakistan has got more work to implement 27 targets until March 31. However, one of the participants of the Azhar-led team said that Pakistan has presented its case and now all the participant countries would give their views.
There is no truth to the rumors that the implementation time has been extended or more work is given to Pakistan. He said that Pakistan will need support to get out of the grey list and avoid blacklisting. It is too early to comment on the outcome of the meeting, the official added.
He further said that the government has mobilized the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Law for achieving the targets in their concerned areas. The Finance Ministry will regulate jewelry and real estate sectors, sources said, adding that the Ministry of Law will improve regulations.
The Ministry of Communications and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan will also be mobilized, said sources, adding that Pakistan Postal Insurance will be formally made a company. Pakistan Postal Insurance will be converted into a Rs. 700 million insurance company.
According to the goals of the FATF, amendments will be made to the laws, sources said, adding that the draft law for amending the rules already exists in the Parliament. China is a strong supporter of Pakistan in the FATF. The United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates also agreed to support Pakistan while Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey are already supporting Pakistan.