ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan and Asia-Pacific Joint Group of the Financial Action Task Force’s meeting ends in Beijing, Islamabad hopes to acquire the Unites States’ cooperation in next month’s plenary aimed at avoiding any further adverse action by the global body.
The face-to-face meeting between Pakistan and the FATF took place at a time when the US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells was in Islamabad with a message of cooperation.
In her off the record discussions, she tried to dispel the impression that the US was changing the goalposts of the FATF.
Ambassador Wells assured that Pakistan’s case would be purely treated on technical grounds but said that the country still had to make efforts to ensure convictions in terror-financing cases.
Probably, this was the reason that Pakistani authorities found the US functionaries less hostile during the joint group meetings, which took place in Beijing from January 21 to 22.
US appreciates Pakistan’s progress on FATF
The government went to attend the face-to-face meetings with a claim that it has largely addressed 22 points related to curbing money laundering and terror financing.
In February 2018, the FATF had found serious deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism regimes and gave Pakistan a 27-point action plan to exit the grey list.
In October last year it gave another warning to Islamabad to show full compliance by February 2020.
Now, the FATF Plenary would take place in Paris next month that will take a decision about Pakistan’s status on the grey list.
Pakistan had sought the global body’s support to declare at least 22 points largely addressed during the review meetings. In October, Pakistan was found largely compliant against five targets, which the authorities now say have reached 17.
But after Beijing meetings, Pakistani authorities have slightly lowered their expectations and were anticipating that the FATF might give a positive judgement in case of around 18 action points. They apprehended that the FATF might still declare two action points non-compliant as against Islamabad’s claim that all the actions were either fully, largely or partially compliant.
They said that in case the FATF Plenary decides to declare two points non-compliant, it may further extend Pakistan on the grey list for three to six months.
The action points related to cash couriers and convictions in terror-financing cases could be declared non-compliant, according to the Pakistani authorities.
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