Officials from the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs are confident that International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) – a special group that operates under Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – has certified that Pakistan has largely complied with 21 points out of the 27-point action plan of financial watchdog. The IRGC met on October 14th; a week before the virtual meeting of its parent body.
The report produced by the IRGC is to be presented in the FATF plenary meeting to be held from October 21st to the 23rd. Officials remain cautiously optimistic that Pakistan will be able to garner the support of the twelve member states required to achieve a clean exit from the Grey List.
Ahead of the meeting a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said: “The process of FATF is ongoing. Pakistan is implementing the FATF Action Plan since 2018 and we have made significant progress in this regard. Our entire AML/CFT [Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism] regime has been revamped in compliance with the Action Plan to bring it to the international standards set by FATF.”
In September, a joint siting of Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) amended 14 laws related to the legal code to fulfil FATF standards, while having already satisfied 13 other points.
These legislations include the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 which aims to streamline the existing law to bring it in line with FATF prescribed standards, the Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill which has inserted a section relevant to the application of investigation techniques and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020 which is aimed at proper management, supervision, and administration of Waqf properties in the territorial limits of ICT.
Despite consistent improvements and unanimous global appreciation of Pakistan’s progress, India – a voting member of FATF – continues to push its skewed narrative on Pakistan. “Diplomatic isolation” of Pakistan is an explicitly stated objective of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and various Indian news organisations and lobby groups participate in this exercise by drumming up support every time a meeting draws near.
Despite this, India has failed to push Pakistan to the much more damaging ‘Black List’ – currently only Iran and North Korea are on it – and Pakistan continues along the path to a complete removal from the list.