Pak expected to remain on FATF grey list till April 2022

Pakistan is expected to remain on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till April 2022, as the country works towards completing an action plan to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.

As per sources, the upcoming three-day meeting of the FATF in Paris, scheduled to start on Wednesday, will be assessing and discussing Pakistan’s progress and compliance to the 27-point action plan to curb money laundering and terrorist financing.

Pakistan’s name is expected to remain on the grey list till the next session of the FATF in April 2022, because of its failure to ensure complete compliance with action plan, which it was presented by the watchdog’s regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group (APG).

Pakistan failed in completing at least six out of the 27-point action plan in its previous assessment at the FATF, which included enhancing international cooperation and demonstrating that assistance is being sought from foreign countries in implementing UN Security Council designations.

FATF assessments hold great importance for Pakistan as financial donors including International Monetary Fund (IMF), UN and the Egmost Group of Financial Intelligence Units are also going to be part of the FATF meeting as observer organisations.

The FATF said in a statement that it “will finalise key reports, including the revised guidance on virtual assets and their service providers and discuss the next steps to strengthen its standards on transparency of beneficial ownership”.

On June 25, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list, handing over six new anti-money laundering areas to work on.

It however, recognised Pakistan’s progress and efforts to address items in its country action plan that refers to combating terror financing.

The Pakistan government under Prime Minister Imran Khan has been struggling to complete all 27 points of the action plan, which hold the basis of its removal from the FATF grey list.

The country’s reeling economy is running on a financial bailout by the IMF, which has resulted in a major surge in prices of basic utilities and petroleum, forcing locals to question Khan’s capabilities and understanding as the country’s premier.

The government however, maintains that it has taken strong steps in curbing the menace of money laundering and terrorist financing in the country, insisting that it deserves to be removed from the FATF grey list.

Law Minister Farogh Naseem has said that Pakistan has done everything to get off the grey list, stating that the country’s case is now “actually a test of the FATF’s fairness”.