Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has termed Pakistan’s successful completion of the action plans laid out by the Financial Action Task Force the “result of concerted national efforts”, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his behalf on Sunday.
The Foreign Office, quoting FM Bilawal, said: “I welcome FATF’s unanimously acknowledgment of completion by Pakistan of its 2018 and 2021 Action Plans. I would like to commend the hard work and dedicated efforts of Pakistan’s FATF team that have led to the successful completion of all technical requirements of both FATF Action Plans.”
The foreign minister said that this was “the result of concerted national efforts and complete harmony of interests by all stakeholders”.
Referring to the announcement by the FATF plenary — convened in Berlin from June 14-17 — of granting an on-site visit to Pakistan, he said that it is “a welcome development”.
“It reflects the remarkable progress made by Pakistan to enhance the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime,” he said, in reference to the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism measures that the task force assesses.
The foreign minister expressed the government’s commitment “to continue this positive trajectory of reforming the financial sector as part of its larger strategic objective of strengthening Pakistan’s economy”.
“I am certain that this good news from FATF will restore confidence in Pakistan’s economy and act as a catalyst for sustained growth and development,” he said.
FM Bilawal also reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to align its AML/CFT regime with global standards.
“We look forward to the on-site visit and a successful and early culmination of the process leading to Pakistan’s exit from the gray list,” the foreign minister said.
The FATF announced on Friday Pakistan has “substantially completed its two action plans” and would be removed from the gray list after it passes the on-site visit stage.
The watchdog said it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date.
It noted that since June 2018 — when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF — Islamabad continued its political commitment to combating both terror financing and money laundering. The moves, resultantly, led to significant progress.
“In particular, Pakistan demonstrated that terror financing investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upwards trend in the number of money laundering investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan, in line with Pakistan’s risk profile. In addition, Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times,” said the FATF.
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer, while addressing a press conference after the plenary meeting, noted that Pakistani authorities have done a significant anmount of work.
“I’m glad to say that they [Pakistan] have now largely addressed all 34 action items from their combined two action plans. Pakistan is not being removed from the gray list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully passes the on-site visit,” said Dr Pleyer.