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Pakistan to remain on FATF grey list till Feb 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ until February 2021, the watchdog’s president said today (Friday).

FATF President Marcus Pleyer announced the decision at a virtual press conference held after the body’s three-day plenary session. The global watchdog has found that Pakistan has successfully complied with 21 out of 27 points of action.

According to a statement issued after the plenary session concluded, “To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items.

“As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021,” the statement added.

The global watchdog reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan for addressing anti-money laundering and terror financing in its plenary session that started on October 21.

Replying to a question, FATF President said that once the remaining six conditions were fulfilled, an onsite visit will be approved under which a team from the FATF will visit the country for the next review.

“Our discussions are confidential, and the members decided by consensus that Pakistan needs to complete these six items for an onsite visit to be granted,” he added.

He further said, “As soon as the plenary decides that Pakistan has completed all the 27 items, then an onsite visit will be made. After that, it will be decided whether the country will be allowed to exit the grey list or not.”

The new deadline for Pakistan to fulfil the remaining conditions is February 2021. “As long as Pakistan can be seen progressing and fulfilling the requirements, it will be given a chance,” Dr Player added.

Shortly after FATF announced its decision, Federal Industries Minister Hammad Azhar said that Pakistan had achieved impressive progress on its FATF action plan. He highlighted that due to Pakistan’s progress FATF had acknowledged that any blacklisting is off the table now.

“21 out of 27 action items now stand cleared. Remaining 6 rated as partially complete. Within a year, we progressed from 5/27 to 21/27 completed items,” he wrote on Twitter. The federal minister also congratulated federal and provincial teams who have worked day and night even during the pandemic to ensure this turnaround.

Meanwhile, two countries, Iceland and Mongolia, were removed from the FATF’s “blacklist. The FATF plenary was earlier scheduled in June but was temporarily postponed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asserted that India’s plans to push Pakistan into the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will fail.

“I can say this with confidence, India will fail in its designs to push Pakistan into the blacklist, because of the concrete steps the country has taken to meet the requirements of the global watchdog,” FM Qureshi added.