Pakistan survives FATF blacklist, strict compliance advised till Feb 2020

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ISLAMABAD (ENNS/MD)

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has strongly urged Pakistan to speedy complete its full action plan by February 2020 and until then the country will remain on the ‘grey list’.
President of FATF can be heard in a video that went viral on social media “Pakistan can be put on black list in case of non-compliance”.

The Paris-based FATF reviewed measures taken and progress made by almost 15 countries, including Pakistan, vis-à-vis anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in its five-day plenary, which con­clu­ded on Friday. Representatives from 206 countries and jurisdictions around the world took part in the meeting.
The Pakistani delegation was led by the Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar, the son of veteran politician Mian Azhar.

At the end of the meeting, three countries — Iceland, Mongolia and Zimbabwe — were added to the grey list, while Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ethiopia were removed from the list as they have adequately complied with the FATF recommendations.

The news is not that good in the case of Pakistan as the global watchdog warned of action in case significant and sustainable progress is not made across the full range of action plan by the next plenary scheduled for February 2020, a statement issued by the FATF said. The action, it added, could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their financial institutions to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan.
“To date, Pakistan has only largely addressed five of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan,” the note further said.

While noting recent improvements, the FATF again expressed serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its TF (terror financing) risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risks, and more broadly, the country’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in the light of TF risks emanating from the jurisdiction.
In 2012, Pakistan was placed on the grey list and remained till 2015. The country was put on the list again on June 29, 2018. Pakistan was given 15 months for implementation of the 27-point action plan, with a warning that in case of failure the country would be added to the blacklist — a list of the countries branded as uncooperative and tax havens for terror funding.
Soon after the FATF announcement, the finance ministry in a statement on Friday reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to implementing the FATF action plan.

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