Pakistan continued its relentless efforts toward the successful completion of these Action Plans despite many challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan has covered a lot of ground in the AML/CFT domain during the implementation of FATF Action Plans.
“Pakistan is not being removed from the grey list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully passes the onsite visit,” FATF president Marcus Pleyer told a news conference. The purpose of the onsite visit, he said, is to verify the completion of reforms to check whether it is sustainable and irreversible. Pleyer did not give a date for the visit but said it would be before the body’s October plenary, where an “informed decision” can be made on whether to delist Pakistan. He said FATF is praising Pakistan for implementing the organization’s action plans – a clear indication that Pakistan is moving closer to getting off the “gray list”.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reviewed Pakistan’s progress on FATF Action Plans in its plenary meetings held in Berlin on 13-17 June 2022. FATF has acknowledged the completion of Pakistan’s Action Plans (2018 and 2021) and has authorized an onsite visit to Pakistan, as a final step to exit from the FATF’s grey list. The FATF members while participating in the discussion on Pakistan’s progress, congratulated Pakistan for completing both Action Plans covering 34 items, and especially on the early completion of the 2021 Action Plan in a record timeframe.
How did Pakistan achieve these measures?
Pakistan continued its relentless efforts toward the successful completion of these Action Plans despite many challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan has covered a lot of ground in the AML/CFT domain during the implementation of FATF Action Plans. The engagement with FATF has led to the development of a strong AML/CFT framework in Pakistan and resulted in the improvement of our systems to cope with future challenges.
Certain people in believe that it is the outcome of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu, and credit should go to him. Whereas, we believe that it was the result of the hard work of Pakistan to introduce new policies and strict implementations of FATF’s action plans. Relevant ministries, departments, and institutions worked very hard, including Pakistan Army.
DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar, in a Twitter post, said the completion of FATF’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terror Financing (CFT) action plans by Pakistan is a great achievement and a monumental effort paving way for whitelisting.
“Core cell at GHQ [General Headquarters] which steered the national effort & civil-military team which synergized implementation of action plan made it possible, making Pak proud,” he quoted Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying. Pakistan’s diplomatic struggle has convinced the vital vote from Turkey, China, and Malaysia to get off the list.
It was the result of collective efforts that Pakistan was able to satisfy FATF
Although “grey-List” means no sanctions, but, causes damage to the reputation and credibility of a country. It can harm its relations with other International Financial Institutions, adversely impacting creditors, and hurting exports, output, and consumption. It also can make global banks wary of doing business with a country. A Pakistani-based independent think-tank, Tabadlab, has estimated it has cost the country’s economy $38bn since it was put on the gray list in 2018.
Whereas, political and military leadership is celebrating it as a victory for Pakistan, yet, need to keep struggling for a longer time. It is in the best interest of the nation as well as the requirement of the FATF, so the action plans should be kept on implementing in true later and spirit.
It is expected once Pakistan is finally removed from the Grey list, its image will improve tremendously. Creditors and investors will pour money into Pakistan. Trade, especially exports may boost up. Pakistan may overcome its economic crisis soon.
On the other hand, India has been involved in terror financing, evidence was provided to the UN and relevant quarters through a dossier by Pakistan. Indian insolvency in a terrorist attack in Sri Lanka was proved and terror finances were obvious. The smuggling of Uranium and trading in the black market is also a matter of deep concern. FATF is requested to probe India and fix it.
Many other countries are also involved in money laundering, terror financing, etc., and are also required to be dealt with accordingly on the same yardstick, irrespective of how big, or strong they are!