FATF decided to keep Pakistan on grey list till February 2021

 Pakistan needs to comply six more conditions to come out of the grey list

Contrary to the expectations of Pakistani government, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced that Pakistan will continue to remain in its "increased monitoring list", referred to more commonly as the grey list.

The government of Pakistan was confident that it has done enough to be taken out of the grey list. Although, FATF acknowledged the progress made by Pakistan but decided to keep in the grey list till February 2021. Pakistan has fulfilled the 21 out of 27 conditions of FATF. Pakistan needs to fulfill other six conditions to get rid of grey list.  

FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer announce the decisions taken by the plenary in its three-day meeting period from October 21 to 23, said that the forum has decided that Pakistan "needs to do more" when it comes to fulfilling the requirements set out by the task force.

Dr Pleyer said that once the remaining six conditions are fulfilled, an "on-site visit" will be approved under which a team from the FATF will visit the country for the next review. "Our discussions are confidential,  the members decided by consensus that Pakistan needs to complete these six items for an onsite visit to be granted.

"As soon as the plenary decides that Pakistan has completed all the 27 items, then an onsite visit will be made. After that, it will be decided whether the country will be allowed to exit the grey list or not." He said that the new deadline for Pakistan to fulfill the remaining conditions is February 2021 when the next plenary meeting will take place.

"As long as Pakistan can be seen progressing and fulfilling the requirements, it will be given a chance. There are some countries which are not making progress and have been placed on the black list," said Dr Pleyer.

The plenary was earlier scheduled in June but got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan was placed on the grey list in June 2018.

In February 2020, the FATF plenary granted Pakistan a grace period of four months to complete its 27-point action plan against money-laundering and terror financing (ML&TF) after it noted that the country was compliant on 14 points.

The government was hopeful of a positive outcome after the country enacted at least 15 pieces of legislation, many of them through a joint sitting of Parliament, to fulfill the requirements set by the international watchdog.

Pakistani authorities had also already claimed that the Joint Working Group (JWG) of FATF had so far found the country compliant on a total 21 points out of the 27 identified in the prescribed action plan.

                                                              Khalid Bhatti 

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