A Pakistani delegation is in France to attend a crucial two-day session of the Financial Action Task Force, beginning in Paris on Monday.
The delegation is being headed by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar.
The FATF is expected to decide on Pakistan’s fate during its Paris meeting.
Pakistan has already prepared its compliance report, which will be presented by Azhar.
In June, the FATF had given Pakistan four months (till October) to improve its “counter-terrorist financing” operations in accordance with the agreed plan. It had expressed concern that “not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items by January deadline; it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019”.
Pakistan was told to block financial loopholes, terror financing, and money laundering by implementing the 27-point action plan.
Based out of Paris, the FATF is an inter-governmental body that combats money laundering, terrorist financing and threats to the international financial system. It put Pakistan on its grey list in June 2017 because of deficiencies in the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorist Financing regulations.
Being on the grey list doesn’t come with any sanctions, but if we remain on this list, we face the risk of being put on the black list. This is where it gets problematic.
Being on the black list means our banking system will be regarded as one with poor controls over AML and CFT standards — forget bringing PayPal to Pakistan, expatriates will find it difficult to send remittances and traders’ cost of business will increase because our banks will face higher scrutiny in international payments and foreign banks might not even do business with Pakistani banks. The government, too, will struggle to raise funds from international markets if we are placed on the black list.