Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said that Pakistan “should, in principle, be taken off the grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as Islamabad had made considerable progress on the recommendations of the global financial watchdog.
Pakistan hopes to acquire the Unites States’ cooperation in next month’s FATF plenary to get off the ‘grey list’ after a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group in Beijing this week was informed that the government had addressed 22 points of its action plan.
“Pakistan presented its point of view. We presented all of the practical steps we have taken in the past 10 months in front of the member nations,” Qureshi told reporters in Multan, while referring to the Asia-Pacific Group meeting in the Chinese capital.
“I am delighted to say that everyone appreciated our efforts and said that the progress made in the past 10 months is more than the progress made in the last 10 years,” he said. “All countries — except India — agreed that progress has been made by Pakistan,” he added.
“India never wanted for Pakistan to be taken off the grey list. In fact, it wants Pakistan to be added to the blacklist,” Qureshi said. “With this response in view, I hope that all the other FATF members will keep the issue from getting politicised in the upcoming February meeting in France.”
In February 2018, the FATF had found serious deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism regimes and gave Islamabad 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.