ISLAMABAD — Global money laundering and terror financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), on Friday removed Pakistan from a list of countries under “increased monitoring”, also known as the “grey list”, media reports said.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari made the announcement prior to an FATF press conference, congratulating the country on the achievement, Dawn reported.
Pakistan was included among jurisdictions under the increased monitoring list in June 2018 for deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigation, prosecution, judicial and non-government sectors in fighting money laundering and combat terror financing, which are considered serious threats to global financial system.
Islamabad made high-level political commitments to address these deficiencies under a 27-point action plan. But later the number of action points was enhanced to 34.
The country had since been vigorously working with FATF and its affiliates to strengthen its legal and financial systems against money laundering and terror financing to meet international standards in line with the 40 recommendations of the FATF, Dawn reported.
A 15-member joint delegation of the FATF and its Sydney-based regional affiliate — Asia Pacific Group — paid an onsite visit to Pakistan from August 29 to September 2 to verify the country’s compliance with the 34-point action plan committed with the FATF.
The authorities which kept the countrywide visit of the delegation low profile later termed it as “a smooth and successful visit”. The delegation had detailed discussions with the relevant agencies pursuant to the authorisation of onsite visit by the FATF Plenary in June 2022.
Pakistan believed that as a result of strenuous and consistent efforts over the past four years, it has not only achieved a high degree of technical compliance with FATF standards, but also ensured high level of effectiveness through implementation of two comprehensive FATF action plans.
In June this year, FATF had found Pakistan “compliant or largely compliant” on all the 34 points and had decided to field an onsite mission to verify it on ground before formally announcing the country’s exit from the grey list that finally took place in August and September.
In terms of technical compliance with FATF standards, Pakistan was rated by APG as “compliant or largely compliant” in 38 out of 40 FATF recommendations in August this year, which placed the country among the top compliant countries in the world.
Last month, the Foreign Office in Pakistan had said that a FATF technical team had conducted a “successful” visit and Islamabad was expecting a “logical conclusion” of the evaluation process in October, Dawn reported. — (IANS)