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FATF meets to decide Pakistan’s Grey List fate

Pakistan needs 12 countries' support to get onto the White List

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 21, 2020 | Last Updated: 3 months ago
Posted: Oct 21, 2020 | Last Updated: 3 months ago
FATF meets to decide Pakistan’s Grey List fate

Photo: FATF website

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) began on Wednesday its three-day virtual meeting to decide whether Pakistan will stay on its Grey List.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says India’s wish to see Pakistan black listed won’t come true. But Pakistan hasn’t been able to complete the 27-point action plan given to it by the FATF. It has completed 21 points so far.

The plenary is meeting from October 21 to 23.

Pakistan has made amendments to its FATF law, seized the assets of banned organisations and taken steps to stop members of these organisations from operating. It has also made progress on 40 other points apart from the 27 in the action plan.

Pakistan needs the support of 12 countries to get off the Grey List. It is assured of support from Malaysia, China and Turkey, said economist Abid Sulheri.

He explained that we need the support of nine other countries to get off the Grey List but if we don’t get that support, the worst case scenario would be Pakistan staying on the Grey List for another few months.

Initially, there was a threat of Pakistan being placed on the Black List. Being on the Black List means our banking system will be regarded as one with poor controls over AML and CFT standards. This can affect capital inflows and lower investment to Pakistan and hurt the ongoing IMF programme. Raising funds from global capital markets will be difficult, which will undermine our ability to pay our foreign debt.

In February 2020, the FATF expressed concerns over “Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the Terrorist Financing risks emanating from the jurisdiction,” it said in a report.

The global watchdog for illicit financial activities had put Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018 because of weaknesses in the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) laws.

The grey list refers to countries or jurisdictions under increased monitoring because of strategic AML and CFT deficiencies. After being placed on the grey list, Pakistan had developed an action plan with the FATF to address those deficiencies, but fell short of targets.

The deadline was initially June, but was extended to September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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