The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has announced that Pakistan will continue to remain on the watchdog's "increased monitoring list", also known as the grey list, till it addresses the single remaining item – financial terrorism - on the original action plan agreed to as well as all items on a parallel action plan handed out by the watchdog's regional partner – the Asia Pacific Group (APG) – in 2019.
Announcing the decision in a virtual press conference after the financial watchdog's five-day plenary meeting, FATF President Dr. Marcus Pleyer said, "Pakistan has made significant progress and it has largely addressed 26 out of 27 items on the action plan it first committed to in June 2018."
Pleyer, however, added that the item on financial terrorism still needed to be addressed which concerned the "investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups".
He also pointed out that "a separate process has been taking place over the past few years" insofar as Pakistan was concerned, Dawn reported.
"Back in 2019, FATF regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group (APG), identified several serious issues during its assessment of Pakistan’s entire anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing system. Since then Pakistan has made improvements. This includes clear efforts to raise awareness in the private sector to money laundering risks and to develop and use financial intelligence to build cases."
But, he said, Pakistan was still "failing to effectively implement the global FATF standards" across several areas.
"This means risks of money laundering remain high which in turn can fuel corruption and organized crime,” he said.
When asked about the new action plan after the APG evaluation, Pleyer said the plan had "six action items including enhancing international cooperation and demonstrating that assistance is being sought from foreign countries in implementing UN Security Council designations".
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.
Until the last assessment, Pakistan was found deficient in acting against organizations allegedly linked to the terror groups listed by the UN Security Council, prosecuting and convicting banned individuals and tackling smuggling of narcotics and precious stones.
In its last observation in Feb, the FATF president had reiterated that Pakistan had made "progress", but added: "[We] strongly urge completion of the plan [by Pakistan]."