The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s four-day plenary concludes today, with the global watchdog likely to announce its decision on whether Pakistan has qualified to exit the grey list. The outcomes of the plenary will be announced by the FATF president at a press briefing at 9:30 pm (16:30 GMT) today.
The virtual meeting was held in Paris from February 22 to 25, where it considered the cases of countries on the grey list, which include Pakistan.
The last FATF plenary took place in October 2020, when the financial watchdog concluded that Pakistan is to remain on the grey list. At that point, the FATF said that Pakistan had fufilled 21 of the 27 conditions for leaving the list. It also noted that Pakistan has made progress on the remaining conditions as well.
The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced that Pakistan has made substantive progress on the remaining six items of the FATF action plan, and this was duly acknowledged by the wider FATF membership. He expressed optimism about Pakistan leaving the grey list, thwarting Indian efforts against it.
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.
India has been the primary campaigner for retaining Pakistan on the grey list, and pushing it on to the black list. However, Pakistan’s display of progress is likely to thwart the Indian lobbying.
In 2020, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government passed three laws to fulfill the requirements of the FATF. These are the Anti-Money Laundering (second amendment) Bill 2020, Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) (third amendment) Bill 2020, and Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill 2020.
Leading up to the four-day plenary, the FATF updated the overall performance of all countries. Based on this, Pakistan has been shown improving compliance on two out of 40 recommendations of the FATF on effectiveness of anti-money laundering and combating financing terror (AML/CFT) systems. However, the watchdog finds Pakistan non-compliant on four counts, partially compliant on 25 counts, and largely compliant on nine recommendations.
Pakistan’s evaluation at the FATF plenary would be based not on these 40 recommendations, but on the 27-point action plan. With progress made on the remaining points, Pakistan is hopeful of moving out of the grey list.