The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday decided to keep Pakistan on the greylist for another four months till February 2021.
FATF President Marcus Pleyer announced the decision at a virtual press conference held after the body’s three-day plenary session came to an end today.
In a statement issued after the plenary session concluded, the financial watchdog said. “The FATF takes note of the significant progress made on a number of action plan items. To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items.”
“As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021”, stated the watchdog.
The 6 outstanding items (on Pakistan’s action items) are “very serious” and need to be addressed, it added.
Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar through his Twitter account said “Pakistan has achieved impressive progress on its FATF action plan. 21 out of 27 action items now stand cleared. The remaining six were rated as partially complete. Within a year, we progressed from 5/27 to 21/27 completed items. FATF acknowledged that any blacklisting is off the table now.”
Instead of current Action Plan, discussions remained focused on how Pak can be facilitated for our upcoming 2nd evaluation (MER), due mid next year.
I congratulate our Federal and Provincial Teams who have worked day and night even during the pandemic to ensure this turn around.
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) October 23, 2020
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018, and will now continue to remain in that position until February 2021.
FATF is a Paris based global watchdog against financial crimes. The grey list by FATF comprises of those countries that are under review and monitoring for certain financial and economic policy shortcomings, giving way to terror funding and money laundering.
The FATF plenary was scheduled for June 2020. However, Pakistan received an unexpected relief when the global watchdog temporarily suspended all mutual evaluations and follow-up deadlines in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
FATF also put a general pause on the review process, which gave Pakistan an additional four months to meet the requirements outlined by the watchdog. Pakistan was initially given 17 policy procedures to be inculcated in the country’s financial and economic regulations, which were later extended to 27.
In February, the FATF had given Islamabad a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point action plan, noting that Pakistan had delivered on 14 points but missed 13 other targets.
Five months later, on July 28, the government reported to the parliament that compliance had been achieved on 14 points of the 27-point action plan and with 10 of the other 40 recommendations.