Pakistan not included in FATF grey-list

FATF was not responsible for reports which claimed that the country had been added to the grey-list, says spokesperson

Khalid Hameed Farooqi
Mona Khan

ISLAMABAD/PARIS: Pakistan has not been added to the grey-list of global money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after conclusion of the task force's plenary session on Friday.

The list called 'jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies', available on FATF's website, includes the names of Ethiopia, Iraq, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu, and Yemen. It excludes Pakistan's name. 

Speaking to Geo News correspondent Khalid Hameed Farooqi, manager communications FATF Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel said the list was "final". 

When asked about reports circulating in international media claiming Pakistan had been added to the grey-list, she said FATF was not responsible for reports in the media. 

Earlier today, Indian media and Reuters, quoting sources, had claimed that the decision of including Pakistan in the grey-list had been made. 

The next plenary meeting of FATF is expected to take place in June this year.

Miftah Ismail, the prime minister's adviser on finance, had also assured that Pakistan will see no substantial effect on its economy if placed on the grey-list.

The adviser had said that Pakistan was placed on the list between 2012 and 2015, but the stock market still grew by three percent, adding that the fundamentals of the country's economy are strong.

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson said earlier that a request to include Pakistan in the grey-list was made in January by the United States and Britain. 

"Pakistan has serious concerns over the motion moved by US and UK at the Financial Action Task Force to put the country on the grey list."

The reservations tabled before the FATF are those of America, the spokesperson added. He specified that Pakistan has already taken action against most of the reservations, including implementing its own national action plan (NAP). 

The FO spokesperson further added that reports from the FATF and the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) are still awaited.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in a tweet said there had been no official intimation of the FATF decision yet. “We should not speculate till official statement is released.”

In an earlier tweet, Iqbal had thanked Turkey for standing with Pakistan against all odds. 

However, the interior minister clarified that his tweet regarding Turkey "was a general comment."  

On 21 February, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that “no consensus [could be reached] for nominating Pakistan” to be added to the FATF’s list of nations that monetarily support terrorism.

Expressing gratitude at the decision, Asif said Pakistan's efforts paid off and the convening states proposed a "three months pause" and asked for the Asia Pacific Group, which is part of FATF, to consider "another report in June".

"Grateful to friends who helped," the minister added.

An article in The Wall Street Journal said that Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia were the ‘friends’ who had come forward and blocked the US motion to place Pakistan on the grey-list. 

FATF is a global body that combats terrorist financing and money laundering. 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 fear could hurt its economy.

‘Impact more on image than economy’

Speaking to Geo News about the possible impact to Pakistan if it were placed on the FATF grey-list, economist Mohammad Sohail said the effects would be more on the country’s image than the economy.

According to Sohail, there would be a slight impact on banking-related transactions with foreign countries. “There might not be an impact on trade, but on banking related transactions.” He added this would mean a slight increase in the fee for baking transfers.

The economist also cautioned that being placed on the grey-list might increase the risk element when acquiring loans from abroad, which would mean that the cost of borrowing would increase.

“Since the government is raising money through Eurobond, there might be an impact on the next bond” if Pakistan is placed on the grey-list, he said.