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Pakistan to remain on FATF’s grey list till February 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday announced that Pakistan will remain on its grey list for the next four months.

This has handed Pakistan a final lifeline after acknowledging recent improvements. The nation escaped from a blacklist which could have resulted in sanctions.

The task force has directed to take more measures for complete elimination of terror financing and money laundering while expressing serious concerns over the lack of progress in addressing terror financing risks.

“The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020,” it said in its statement.

“Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action.”

It stated that Pakistan made a high-level political commitment since June 2018 to work with the FATF and the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terror financing (CTF) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.

It noted that Pakistan has made progress towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including the recent development of its money laundering  and terror financing risk assessment.

According to the statement, the country reiterated its political commitment to completing its action plan and implementing AML/CFT reforms at the meeting.

“Pakistan should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies,” it added.

However, while noting recent improvements, the FATF expressed serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its terror financing risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational risks.

Reservations were expressed about Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the terror-financing risks emanating from the jurisdiction.

“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 FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020.”

The FATF meeting in Paris had on Tuesday reviewed measures already taken to control money laundering and terror financing. However, participants of the meeting had made it clear that Pakistan will have to take further steps in the next four months.

The FATF has linked the blacklisting of Pakistan with unsatisfactory steps to curb money laundering and terror financing. The final decision will be made in Feb 2020.

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