Pakistan’s troubled journey at FATF and next

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has acknowledged the completion of Pakistan’s both Action Plans (2018 and 2021) and kicked off its reversal of grey listing of the country through authorization of an onsite visit to the country in the coming month. According to details, the task force reviewed Pakistan’s progress on FATF Action Plans in its plenary meetings held in Berlin on 13-17 June 2022, and after comprehensive review of the whole gambit of the affairs, the global financial and money laundering watchdog said that Pakistan has substantially completed the 34 items of two separate actions Plans however the country will stay on the grey list until a technical team of the global monitor cannot ensure that Pakistan’s reforms are in place and can be sustain into the future.

Pakistan was on the grey list of Paris based global financial and money laundering watchdog since June 2018, due to alleged weak financial mechanism, legal and administrative efficiencies in its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism regimes.

The government of Pakistan agreed to work with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and Asia Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its anti-money laundering (AML)/ Combating Financing terror (CFT) regimes to strengthened its strategic counter-terrorist financing mechanism.

Over the past four years, Pakistan political and military leadership had worked extensively on the issues relating of money laundering, terrorism financing, terrorist prosecution as well as monitoring of inward and outward flow of finances from the country through introduction of strict monitoring and regularization of country’s banking system.

During a post visit media interaction, Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and head of the FATF coordination Committee, Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan has worked relentlessly for the completion of FATF’s action plans despite multiple challenges including the COVID 19 pandemic, introduction of stringent legislation, strengthening of banking channel and comprehensively covered all requirements of the Anti- Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) domains during the implementation of FATF Action Plans. According to her, Pakistan’s journey of exiting the grey list as per the FATF procedure has begun and will end after the successful completion of on-site visit of FATF’s technical team and will be formally announced in next plenary of the global regulator.

The political and military leadership had congratulated the nation on this remarkable success, while a contest for the praise had also begun between the parties, in fact, it was a team work of the entire nation, each and every institution, party and individual had played its role to reach this day.

However, the battle is still continuing and the Pakistani government and institutions must continue their work with the same devotion, because our enemies had not yet abandoned their efforts to malign Pakistan at the last movement. An Indian origin Singaporean financial expert, T. Kumar Raja is assuming the office of FATF’s President from July 1, hereafter a change in the FATF’s leadership can complicate the situation for Pakistan. The government must continue its work to strengthen its terrorism financing, investigation and prosecution regime because the enemy can exploit these aspects through its proxies, while the security and intelligence apparatuses should remain at heightened vigilance to foil nefarious designs of the enemy in the future.