Pakistan wins FATF approval

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FATF had declared Pakistan as compliant on all 34 points of two action plans that can now pave the way for its removal from the grey list after an on-site inspection by a force team. Though monitoring process will continue in the coming months, Pakistani authorities stated that it was a unanimous decision for declaring Pakistan compliant on all 34 points. On the last two points, including terror financing and money laundering, the FATF cleared the country in its entire meeting when action was taken against the leadership of outlawed organization .After four years of hectic work and implementing two action plans simultaneously, Islamabad has been found compliant on all 34 items. Now the FATF will dispatch its onsite inspection team to visit Pakistan possibly within the next two months. After getting verification and confirmation with the help of an onsite visit, the FATF’s next plenary, expected to be held in October 2022, will confirm exclusion of Pakistan from the grey list.
Pakistan has now largely addressed all 34 action items from their combined two action plans. Pakistan is not being removed from the grey list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully passes the onsite visit. Director General Financial Monitoring Unit Lubna Malik said the country made progress on all points and achieved prosecution and convictions against those involved in terror financing and money laundering. She said that the country also made progress in taking hard action against the leadership of banned outfits to demonstrate its seriousness, which helped convince the FATF to declare the country compliant. She said that the FATF did not convey a particular time-frame for an onsite inspection visit, but Pakistan wanted to convince the FATF to dispatch its team as early as possible. The official sources said that the schedule of the onsite inspection was affected badly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic due to which many countries’ scheduled visits could not be completed in 2020 and 2021.In a major development for Pakistan stuck in a many crises, the international financial watchdog for controlling money laundering and terrorist financing announced that Pakistan has largely completed its two action plans and would be removed from the grey list after it passes the on-site visit stage. The prime minister further said that the FATF statement was recognition of the restoration of Pakistan’s reputation internationally. Pakistan is also working with the same zeal for the economic revival of the country. Pakistan Army played key role in winning FATF approval, The GHQ-based cell worked hard to develop an effective strategy on money laundering and terror financing. The role of the Pakistani military was critical in winning the Financial Action Task Force approval after fulfilling the 34-point action set by the international watchdog. After a lot of work by the Pakistani authorities the country has largely addressed all 34 action items in a plan agreed with the organization. Pakistan has demonstrated that it is now pursuing terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions against senior leaders of UN-designated terrorist groups and pursuing money laundering investigations and prosecutions in line with its risk profile.
A special cell was established at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi which worked day and night to achieve the colossal task of meeting the tough target set for the country over the period of four years to graduate from the grey list to the white list. The armed forces, along with the government and national institutions, ensured the implementation of all the points and stopped India’s attempt to keep Pakistan on the grey list. The army chief, in consultation with the government, established a special cell in 2019 under the leadership of the director-general of military operations to coordinate on it. The GHQ-based cell worked hard to develop an effective strategy on money laundering and terror financing, which led to the country’s removal from the FATF grey list. The report stated that Pakistan completed its 2021 Action Plan ahead of the timelines set by the FATF, i.e. January 2023. Over the past four years, there has been a decline in terrorist financing and money laundering in Pakistan. This success was made possible by the continuous improvement of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws. The financial watchdog will now schedule an on-site visit to verify the implementation and sustainability of Pakistan’s money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures, and remove it from the grey list if it successfully passed the visit ‘test’. The former prime minister said that when his government came to power in 2018, it faced the direct prospect of blacklisting by the international body as the country’s compliance history with the FATF was allegedly not encouraging.He constituted a FATF Coordination Committee headed by key minister Hammad Azhar. The committee had representation from all government departments and security agencies relevant to r FATF action plan. The officers worked day and night in the first instance to avoid blacklisting. Mr Khan further claimed his government not only defeated blacklisting, but also completed 32 out of 34 action items.
Khar praises global partners, friends for support.Pakistan’s positive and speedy progress was greatly appreciated and welcomed by FATF members. As a result of this remarkable achievement, FATF has now authorized an onsite visit of its technical team to Pakistan to validate the process of implementation of reforms.
Like many other governmental organizations, the FBR has played a key role in completing the FATF actions related to cash smuggling, investigating tax crimes for money laundering, and confiscating the proceeds of tax crimes. In the 34 actions of the FATF action plans, the FBR has directly dealt with at least 8 actions and spearheaded the process of implementation. In the area of cash smuggling, the FBR Customs has fortified cross-border controls and implemented a comprehensive mechanism to combat cash smuggling, by all means possible.FBR has also undertaken a large number of money laundering investigations against tax crimes and has also made significant confiscations in this regard. A successful completion of the same would provide the necessary base for attracting foreign direct investment Followed with successful resumption of the stabilization programme of the IMF, Pakistan will get yet another chance to make reforms and be on the path of sustainable, and responsible growth.

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