No reason to keep Pakistan on FATF grey list: FM Qureshi

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefs journalists about the upcoming visit by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince to Pakistan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Pakistan said Wednesday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will arrive in Islamabad later this week on an official visit that is expected to include the signing of agreements for billions of dollars of investment in Pakistan. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

FM Qureshi said Pakistan had completed the FATF’s technical requirements. “We had been given 27 points in the FATF Action Plan, out of which work on 26 has been completed,” he said, adding that work was also being carried out to address the remaining item.

“In this situation, there is no justification to keep Pakistan on the grey list,” he said. He added that India wanted to use the forum for “political purposes” but should not be allowed to do so.

Earlier this month, The Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering improved Pakistan’s rating on 21 of the 40 technical recommendations of the FATF against money laundering and terror financing, but retained it on ‘Enhanced Follow-up’ for sufficient outstanding requirements.

However, the second follow-up report on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the APG — a regional affiliate of the Paris-based FATF — had also downgraded the country on one criterion. The report had said Pakistan was re-rated to ‘compliant’ status on five counts and on 15 others to ‘largely compliant’ and on yet another count to ‘partially compliant’.

Overall, Pakistan was fully ‘compliant’ with seven recommendations and ‘largely compliant’ with 24 others. The country was ‘partially compliant’ with seven recommendations and ‘non-compliant’ with two out of total 40 recommendations. All in all, Pakistan was compliant or largely compliant with 31 out of 40 FATF recommendations.

In its last meeting in February, the FATF had urged Pakistan to address three strategically important deficiencies related to investigations and prosecutions of terrorism-financing cases. The FATF had also demanded proof and asked for the effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all UN Security Council-designated terrorists.

“Pakistan remains in the increased monitoring list (the grey list),” FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had said and also appreciated that Pakistan had made significant progress on all aspects of the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism action plan “but severe deficiencies still remain relating” to terror financing.

“To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 24 of the 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan before June 2021,” said the president.

Responding to a question, he had said only “a fully completed action plan including three outstanding areas” would be verified and then FATF members would test “its sustainability” and suggest future steps.

On the FATF’s remaining three apprehensions, the federal government had submitted its compliance report last month. After the submission of the report, optimism increased among the authorities concerned as the compliance report indicated that the government had further strengthened its CFT regime.

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