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FATF meeting begins, Pakistan decision not expected before Thursday

Pakistan required to comply with two separate action plans

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has opened its three-day plenary meeting in Paris. Besides discussing a host of other issues, it will also decide whether Pakistan has made enough progress to be removed from the FATF grey list.

However, a decision is not expected before the final day of the meeting, that is, Thursday, October 21.

The hybrid plenary meeting (from October 19 to October 21) would be attended by “205 members of the Global Network and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units,” the FATF has said in a statement.

“The outcomes of the FATF Plenary will be published on Thursday 21 October, at the close of the meeting,” it said.

The FATF president will give a press briefing on Thursday at 8:30pm Pakistan standard time.

Although Pakistan is being singled out, the FATF meeting has a wide-ranging agenda.

“The FATF will finalise key reports, including the revised guidance on virtual assets and their service providers and discuss next steps to strengthen its standards on transparency of beneficial ownership. Delegates will also discuss the outcomes of the FATF’s survey to identify areas where divergent anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing rules or their implementation cause friction for cross-border payments. FATF is leading work on this aspect of the G20’s priority to improve cross-border payments,” the statement reads.

Two action plans for Pakistan

In June earlier this year, the FATF regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group (APG), ruled that Pakistan would continue to remain on the grey list.

Pakistan is being asked to address two action plans: The 27-item original action plan that Pakistan agreed to in June 2018, and an additional 40-item action plan that APG outlined in 2019.

In June 2021, the APG meeting emphasized compliance with both plans.

Pakistan has already satisfied 26 out of 27 items on the original plan. It has also been declared “compliant” or “largely compliant” on 35 out of 40 items from the APG action plan, according to Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar.

“Pakistan has now joined a select group of countries with [a] high level of compliance,” he said in a statement tweeted in August 2021.

However, a greater level of compliance has not helped Pakistan at the FATF in the past.

Indian media outlets on Tuesday launched into a renewed propaganda frenzy, claiming that sufficient evidence existed for Pakistan to remain on the grey list

The grey list has caused huge economic losses to Pakistan. A research paper published by the Islamabad-based independent think-tank, Tabadlab, says FATF’s decision to retain Pakistan on the grey list has cost $38 billion to the country’s GDP between 2008 and 2019.

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