Pak to focus on buying more time in FATF meet


Pakistan Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and his team will defend the country’s performance on 22 points at the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) joint group meeting starting on Tuesday in Beijing, with a focus on buying more time, a news report said.

The face-to-face meeting will continue for three days (Tuesday to Thursday) in which Pakistan’s 17 member delegation is participating with the objective to defend its compliance report on 22 major action plan points given by FATF review to gauge the performance of the country for combating money laundering and terror financing, The News International said in the report on Monday.

On the other hand, the FATF’s upcoming plenary meeting is expected to be held next month probably in Paris where Pakistan faces three possibilities — either exclusion from the grey list and placement on the white; the grey-list status quo for up to June or September; or blacklisting in the worst-case scenario.

Pakistan in its compliance report apprised the joint group of FATF that as many as 500 terror-financing-related cases had been registered in the country, out of which 55 ended up in conviction in the courts of law.

“The State Bank of Pakistan imposed penalties on defaulting banks and statutory sanctions regime was implemented. The mandatory currency declaration scheme was also implemented at all airports of the country,” the FATF was informed.

The country had dispatched its 120-page detailed reply along with annexure details of 500 pages to the Joint Group of FATF for sharing progress on 22 points, said The News International report.

The FATF in the last plenary meeting had shown satisfaction over five points of the action plan out of a total 27 and kept the country on the grey list up to February.

Pakistan is expecting that the FATF may grant another relaxation probably up to June or September, as the February deadline is too short a period to comply with all remaining 22 points of the action plan, according to informed sources.

Pakistan has so far successfully managed to avoid the blacklist due to diplomatic support from China, Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Middle East countries.

It now requires just three votes out of a total of 39 members of the FATF forum to avoid falling into the blacklist.

Islamabad, Jan 21 (IANS)


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