Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri has rejected “false media reports” regarding Saudi Arabia’s role in the assessment of the country’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan.
The spokesperson “categorically rejected the story circulating on a segment of the media as false and baseless”, said a press release.
A virtual meeting of the FATF, from Oct 21-23, will decide if Pakistan should be excluded from its ‘grey list’, based on a review of Islamabad’s performance to meet global commitments and standards on fight against money laundering and terror financing (ML&TF).
The country has complied with 21 of 27 points in action plan, averting blacklist. It may therefore remain in the grey list.
The grey list is normally meant to force governments into tightening their legal regimes against money laundering and terrorist financing in order to get off it.
Pakistan has so far successfully managed to avoid the blacklist due to diplomatic support from China, Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. Support of 12 out of FATF’s 39 members is needed to exit the grey list.
According to diplomatic sources, the country will succeed in exiting the FATF’s grey list by June next year.
Turkey has reportedly said it will continue to support Pakistan on FATF issue, according to Pakistani analyst Sabir Shakir (Watch video above). ‘Turkey will be the last one to abandon Pakistan…even if others blink’, the analyst says citing a reliable source.
The FATF plenary was earlier scheduled in June but Islamabad got an unexpected breather after the global watchdog against financial crimes temporarily postponed all mutual evaluations and follow-up deadlines in the wake of grave health risk following Covid-19 pandemic. The Paris-based agency also put a general pause in the review process, thus giving additional four months to Pakistan to meet the requirements.
The plenary had formally placed Pakistan in the grey list in June 2018 due to ‘strategic deficiencies’ in its AML/CFT regime after a push from India supported by the US, the UK and some European countries.
The main objective of FATF is to establish norms and standards of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to security and integrity of the international financial system.