Pakistan may be placed in FATF’s ‘grey list’ for financially aiding terrorism: reports

Islamabad | Pakistan could be placed on the blacklist of countries that financially aid terrorism, media reports said today as Islamabad fielded its interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar to defend the country in Paris where the Financial Action Task Force is meeting.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Currently placed on the FATF’S ‘grey list’, Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the FATF, a measure that officials here fear could hurt its economy, which is already under strain.

In February, Pakistan narrowly escaped placement, but a senior official of the FATF confirmed that it will be placed on the FATF’s watch-list in June, the Express Tribune reported. Pakistan was previously on the grey list from 2012 to 2015.

The FATF will decide after a six-day meeting whether Pakistan should be placed on the blacklist of countries that financially aid terrorism, the report said.

Caretaker finance minister Akhtar arrived in Paris earlier today along with senior officials of the financial monitoring unit to fight Pakistan’s case before the FATF, Geo TV reported.

Ahead of the July 25 general elections in Pakistan, the country is being governed by a caretaker government led by former Pakistan Chief Justice Nasir-ul Mulk.

The Pakistani delegation will inform the FATF of the action plan drafted by the government to avoid sanctions, the report said.

Amid increasing global pressure to move decisively against proscribed organisations, Pakistan reviewed its new draft action plan for submission to global bodies working on curbing money laundering and terror financing.

The action plan was reviewed just two days before the filing of comments to the observations raised by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, the Express Tribune report said.

The APG and the FATF’s recommendations to curb money laundering and terror-financing were first discussed in a federal Cabinet meeting. The proposed action plan was then reviewed in a meeting chaired by Akhtar.

Ahead of the latest meeting, Pakistan took steps in keeping with FATF regulations. On June 20, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan issued the Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations 2018, in compliance with FATF recommendations.

On June 8, Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) also reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with FATF in its fight against terrorist financing and money laundering.

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