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The FATF Meeting in Paris to Decide the Fate of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering – a Paris-based global anti-money laundering watchdog – will meet today to review progress made by Pakistan in implementing its 27-point action plan, The News reported Monday.
The global watchdog found Pakistan “fully compliant” on 14 points of a 27-point action plan, showing that the country is making progress in meeting all of its conditions.
This week, the FATF plenary will decide the fate of Pakistan, which could only have two effects. The FATF could decide to 1) exclude Pakistan from the grey list and put it on the white list; or 2) continue to register the country on the grey list for a further three to six months.
According to The News, Pakistan’s chances of being blacklisted have completely disappeared given the progress made last year.
Pakistan has proven, that both its military and civilian leaders are on one page. After obtaining 14 points for technical reasons, Pakistan will need political and diplomatic efforts to get out of the grey list.
When the correspondent contacted the Pakistani authorities currently in Paris, they said that everything was confidential and that no official response would be available until the plenary meeting was closed, The News reported.
However, leading official sources have confirmed that the FATF joint group in its report submitted on the current plenary meeting in Paris has declared Pakistan compliant on nine points.
Earlier, Islamabad was whitewashed on five points.
The Pakistani delegation, led by Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, is in Paris to attend the FATF plenary meeting from February 16 to 21.
At the plenary meeting in October 2019, Pakistan was declared fully compliant on five points which are (1) the understanding of the risks of counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) by the financial sector; (2) awareness-raising sessions on the fight against money laundering (AML) and CFT for financial institutions; (3) develop an integrated database at airports; (4) a mechanism for publicizing designated persons and entities; and (5) specific units for terrorist financing (TF) and analyses carried out by the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The recent FATF joint group meeting in China had transmitted its conclusions to the plenary meeting showing that Pakistan was fully complying with nine of the remaining 22 points.
Thus, overall, Pakistan became compliant on 14 points for technical reasons.
This time, the joint group declared Pakistan compliant with (1) the audit of financial institutions by the State Bank of Pakistan; (2) dissemination and analysis of reports on suspicious transactions (DOS) by the UFA; (3) assessing the risks of terrorist financing and its implementation; (4) inter-coordination mechanism between federal and provincial departments; (5) parallel investigations by the counter-terrorism departments (CTD); (6) risk assessment of cash smuggling; (7) the implementation of national cooperation to combat the smuggling of cash; (8) understand the TF through the judiciary by organizing an awareness and training session; and (9) risk-based awareness of designated non-bank financial institutions (DNBFI) and non-profit organizations (NPOs).
An official announcement regarding Pakistan will be made by the end of the plenary meeting on February 21.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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