Thu, 21 Nov 2019

Islamabad [Pakistan], Oct 18 (ANI): There seems to be no relief for Pakistan from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that is all set to keep the country on its grey list till February 2020, with a formal announcement in this regard expected later today.

In a major development on Tuesday, the Paris-based terror financing watchdog decided "in principle" that Pakistan will remain on its grey list till February 2020 and directed the country to take "extra measures" for the "complete elimination" of terror financing and money laundering.

The meeting of the international watchdog reviewed the measures taken by Pakistan to control money laundering and terror financing, and observed that Islamabad will have to take further steps on the two parameters in these four months, reported Dawn.

According to Pakistani media reports, the FATF has linked the blacklisting of the country with "unsatisfactory steps to curb money laundering and terror financing".

The formal announcement of these decisions is scheduled to be made today at 12:00 (local time) which is the last day of its ongoing session.

Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the watchdog in June 2018 and was given 15 months to complete implementation of a 27-point action plan, failing which it be placed in the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.

It should be noted that if the cash-strapped nation continues to remain in the grey list, it would become very difficult for the Imran Khan government to get financial aid from global money lenders, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, further making a more precarious situation for its plunging economy.

Representatives from 206 countries and jurisdictions around the world began a meeting for the FATF Week in the French capital earlier this week. Six days of meeting were focused on disrupting financial flows linked to crime and terrorism and discuss ways to contribute to global security.

Meanwhile, China's stand on Pakistan's risk of being 'blacklisted' will also be taken under consideration as the crucial plenary meeting of the watchdog came following the two-day 'informal' meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the coastal town of Mamallapuram in South India.

China currently holds the current FATF presidency and all eyes will be on Beijing that is an all-weather ally of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, China, Turkey and Malaysia have appreciated the steps undertaken by Pakistan to curb terror financing on its soil and noted that further time should be given to the country to implement the other measures.

Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the watchdog in June 2018 and was given 15 months to complete implementation of a 27-point action plan, failing which it be placed in the Black List.

The Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the FATF had recently made public its report on money-laundering and terror-financing in Pakistan. The FATF-APG report had 10 parameters for 'Effectiveness and Technical Compliance Ratings' and 40 for 'Technical Compliance Ratings'.

A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar told the meeting that the country has made positive progress in 20 out of 27 points. The FATF expressed satisfaction on the measures taken by Pakistan and its progress in various areas. (ANI)

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