Pakistan is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) ‘grey list’ until June, despite the country trying to seek backing from the member nations before the plenary meeting of the global terror financing and money laundering watchdog scheduled for next week, stated media report on Wednesday. The FATF’s Plenary and Working Group meetings will be taking place from February 21 to February 26 in Paris, where the decision of Pakistan’s position will also be determined. Pakistan was placed in FATF’s ‘grey’ list in June 2018 and since then has been unsuccessful in implementing 27 action points essential for its re-designation.
Earlier in October 2020, the officials had said that Pakistan will remain on the 'grey list' till February 2021 as it remained unsuccessful in fulfilling the six key obligations of the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that include failure to take action against two of India's most wanted terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed. After the last FATF meeting, FATF president Marcus Pleyer said at a virtual press conference from Paris, "Pakistan remains in the increased monitoring list or the grey list."
As per a report in The Express Tribune newspaper, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sounded optimistic about the outcome of the upcoming FATF meeting but officials admitted that the nation would remain on the ‘grey’ list until at least June. It also noted that Islamabad has been seeking support from the member nations for an on-site visit. If this crucial step is agreed upon by the member states, it can enhance Pakistan’s chances of getting off the ‘grey’ list.
"If agreed, the FATF on-site visit will help Pakistan come out of the grey list by June this year," a senior Pakistani official dealing with the matter was quoted by news agency PTI citing another report.
“Over the past few days, the Foreign Office has been inviting ambassadors and diplomats of FATF-member countries to brief them about the ‘substantive progress’ made by Pakistan to implement the 27-point action plan,” the report said, quoting officials familiar with the development.
Financial Action Task Force or FATF is an inter-governmental organisation and was founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 countries to develop the policies that are required to combat money laundering. It was in 2001 when the organisation’s mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing. The FATF currently has 39 members including two regional organisations the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.