Federal Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar on Sunday maintained that Pakistan’s legal efforts to meet the objectives of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) action plan were hailed as a role model for other countries to follow at the global watchdog’s recent plenary.
The minister tweeted that Pakistan was “undergoing two action plans at the FATF” – one being the “most challenging and comprehensive ever given to any country”.
HE elaborated that FATF-related laws passed by parliament focused on both the October evaluation and upcoming evaluation next year. “These laws reflect the clearance of a backlog of the last 10 years.”
The minister added that the interplay of two evaluations and the requirements of laws were discussed in detail during parliamentary committee meetings.
“The [government] is now focusing on the implementation of the laws for the effectiveness of the evaluation planned ahead.”
A day earlier, Azhar had described the FATF’s consensus decision “without any voting” to give Pakistan another lifeline by keeping it on the global watchdog’s grey list for four more months as a “diplomatic victory” for the country.
Pakistan has avoided being placed on the FATF blacklist as the global dirty money watchdog decided to retain the country in its grey list while acknowledging its political commitment to end deficiencies in the country’s terror financing regime.
“The FATF takes note of the significant progress made on a number of action plan items and to date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items,” according to a statement issued by the FATF Plenary on Friday.
However, the country has been unable to exit the FATF grey list as it could not fully implement its 27-point action plan till June 2020 deadline.
“[The] consensus decision without any voting is our diplomatic victory. Thus, no voting criterion (for any voting numbers) was applied,” the minister said.
“FATF has acknowledged our high-level political commitment and significant progress.”
The minister noted that some circles were propagating “false and baseless information” about abstention or negative voting in the meeting.
“Some countries mentioned in the fake news are not even members of FATF. Pakistan enjoys broad international support and cooperation on FATF.”
In June 2018, Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and to address its strategic counterterrorist financing-related deficiencies.
The global body said Pakistan had taken action to identify and sanction illegal MVTS, implementing cross-border currency and BNI controls, improving international cooperation in terror-financing cases, passing amendments to the ATA to increase the sanctioning authority, financial institutions implementing targeted financial sanctions and applying sanctions for AML/CFT violations, and controlling facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons and entities.