PARIS : (Web Desk)-The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday announced that it is retaining Pakistan on the grey list while noting that “significant progress” has been made in completing the required action items for removal from the list.
The FATF has been holding a virtual session in Paris since March 1 that concluded today (March 4). As per reports, the task force reviewed the Asia Pacific Group’s (AGP) report on Pakistan’s compliance with the watchdog’s prescribed action items.
The decision was announced during a press conference at the close of the meeting.
The FATF, in its statement, said that since June 2018, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, Pakistan’s continued political commitment has led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan.
“Pakistan has completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan,” it said, adding the FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address, as soon as possible, the one remaining item by continuing to demonstrate that TF investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.
The international watchdog said that in response to additional deficiencies later identified in Pakistan’s 2019 APG Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), in June 2021, Pakistan provided further high-level commitment to address these “strategic deficiencies pursuant to a new action plan that primarily focuses on combating money laundering.”
It further added since June 2021, Pakistan has taken swift steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime and completed six of the seven action items ahead of any relevant deadlines expiring, including by demonstrating that it is enhancing the impact of sanctions by nominating individuals and entities for UN designation and restraining and confiscating proceeds of crime in line with Pakistan’s risk profile.
“Pakistan should continue to work to address the one remaining item in its 2021 action plan by demonstrating a positive and sustained trend of pursuing complex ML investigations and prosecutions,” the statement read.
In October, the international watchdog retained Pakistan on the grey list, while noting that “good progress” had been made in completing the required action items for removal from the list.
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had said that Pakistan has two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 action plan items. “It has now addressed, or largely addressed 30 of the items,” he had said back in October.
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s increased monitoring list, known as the grey list, since June 2018.