Monday Jan 27, 2020
DUBAI: Pakistan is unlikely to exit a 'grey list' of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) next month despite active support of its close ally China and tactical support of some powerful Western countries, The News reported on Monday citing diplomatic sources.
The FATF, an international watchdog that works to counter money laundering, may extend the duration of the 'grey list' it has placed Pakistan in for another six months to ensure the country gets enough time to adopt legislative measures to restructure its banking system in line with best international practices.
Although Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has expressed confidence at Pakistan getting off the 'grey list' by February, experts and diplomatic sources say the FATF is likely to extend the duration of the 'grey list' for another six months.
At a review meeting in Beijing last week, Islamabad submitted a compliance report about actions it has taken in line with FATF recommendations.
However, it is still an uphill task to secure 12 more votes out of 39 to exit the 'grey list' and move to a 'white list', sources said. In recent meetings, Pakistan has received the support of Malaysia and Turkey, besides China.
"Pakistan has done a remarkable job to exit the 'grey list' of FATF. We have addressed 24 concerns out of 27 in Beijing meetings and will soon have 100 per cent compliance on FATF guidelines," Ashfaq Hassan Khan, member of the Economic Advisory Council in Islamabad, said after the recent most recent review.
In October 2019, the FATF board had noted that Pakistan had addressed only five out of the 27 tasks given to it under controlling terror funding and anti-money laundering measures. It had asked Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020.
"We have addressed most of the technical concerns to ensure there is no more money laundering and terror financing in Pakistan. But there is a political side of FATF due to which it may take another six months to exit the 'grey list'," Khan said.
Pakistan was placed on the 'grey list' by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the watchdog's blacklist, along with Iran and North Korea.
If Islamabad comes out of the 'grey list', it will be easy for the country to receive financial aid from international and multinational lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the European Union on easy terms and conditions.