Pakistan likely to get out of FATF’s grey list

News Desk

Islamabad: Pakistan has secured support from friendly countries including China , Malaysia and Turkey to help them get off FATF’s grey list.

Ahead of FATF’s working group and plenary meetings between October 18 and 23, the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), a regional affiliate of the multilateral watchdog, reviewed Pakistan’s actions to counter-terror financing and money laundering at a virtual meeting on September 15 and 16. At the virtual meeting, China expectedly backed Pakistan’s counter-terror financing actions, despite the fact that 13 of the 27 points in the Action Plan have yet to be completely implemented, sources said.  

When Yao Jing, China’s outgoing ambassador to Pakistan, made a farewell call on the de facto finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in Islamabad on September 17 – a day after the APG meeting – he was quoted in an official statement as expressing “his confidence that FATF’s October review will go well for Pakistan”.

“Pakistan will again be looking at China, Malaysia and Turkey to back it at the FATF plenary meeting as the support of only three members is enough to thwart any planned action,” cited sources mentioned.  

Malaysia was appointed co-chair of APG in July, while Australia is the permanent co-chair and host country for the regional body. While relations between India and Malaysia had soured under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, the new government formed after his resignation has been working quietly to improve ties with New Delhi, the people noted. Ahead of the FATF plenary meeting, Pakistan will have to submit a progress report by September 30. 

But on July 28, Pakistan’s Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) director-general Lubna Farooq told a parliamentary standing committee on finance and revenue that the country had complied with only 14 of the 27 points in the action plan while stakeholders “were working on the remaining 13 action points”.  

The people further noted that Pakistan had resorted to its usual tactic of some high-profile actions in the run-up to the FATF plenary to create the impression that it was delivering on its counter-terror financing commitments.  The joint session of the Pakistan Parliament also adopted three bills aimed at enforcing the commitments made to the FATF last week, thus tightening the brakes on eight leaders of people including Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar by taking steps in August to impose UN sanctions against them. 

As things stand now, Pakistan is confident make exit from Grey list.

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