Pakistan remains on FATF ‘grey list’ for now, but nears possible exit – Times of India

ISLAMABAD: In a possible reprieve for Pakistan, the global terror watchdog, FATF, has approved an on-site visit to Pakistan to verify its action against terrorist-financing and money laundering. Pakistan will for now remain on the grey or increased monitoring list even though the on-site visit is seen as the first step towards removal from the same.
Members of former Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) claimed credit for the FATF’s announcement on Friday that Pakistan had met all 34 items on two separate action plans paving the way for the country’s possible exit from the grey list of the watchdog.
The global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog said in its statement that Pakistan will be taken off the grey list if it successfully passes the on-site visit.
“Pakistan’s continued political commitment to combating both terrorist financing and money laundering has led to significant progress. In particular, Pakistan demonstrated that TF (terrorist financing) investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upward trend in the number of ML (money laundering) investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan, in line with Pakistan’s risk profile. In addition, Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times,” said the global body in a statement. There was no response from the Indian government to the development.
Following the development, former PM Imran Khan said “FATF repeatedly praised the work and political will my govt demonstrated”.
He said when PTI’s government came to power in 2018, it faced the “direct prospect of blacklisting” by the body, adding that the country’s compliance history with the FATF was also not favourable.
“I constituted a FATF coordination committee headed by key minister Hammad Azhar. The committee had representation from all government departments and security agencies relevant to our FATF action plan. The officers worked day and night in the first instance to avoid blacklisting,” Khan said.
“FATF repeatedly praised the work and the political will my government demonstrated. We not only averted blacklisting, but also completed 32 out of 34 action items. We submitted a compliance report on the remaining two items in April based on which FATF has now declared Pakistan’s Action Plan as completed,” he added.
Hammad Azhar shared a picture of himself standing with officers, saying that Pakistan’s hard work on completing the 34-action items was a result of the “teamwork of officers that worked day and night in different government departments. They are the real heroes!”
Former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said the “removal” was another feather in the cap of Hammad Azhar, who was the former energy minister and also the government’s top coordinator for efforts on anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing.
When minister of state for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who represented Pakistan’s team at FATF’s latest plenary session in Berlin, was asked on how much credit she would give to the previous government, she replied: “Whoever wants to take credit can do so. Our job is to work for Pakistan, we will continue to work and we don’t care about who gets the credit and who doesn’t.”
Meanwhile, the ruling PML-N’s official Twitter handle criticised the previous PTI government for diplomatically isolating Pakistan due to which it faced various economic sanctions.
It added that now, however, the nations of the world had agreed to restore relations and the world’s confidence in Pakistan was being restored.

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