Pakistan: Opposition slams Imran Khan govt over ‘failure’ to exit FATF grey list

Pakistan Opposition slams Imran Khan govt over 'failure' to exit FATF grey list

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan opposition slammed the federal government of Imran Khan over its failure to remove the country from Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf asked the federal government to tell the National Assembly about the only condition which Pakistan had not so far fulfilled to come out of the FATF grey list, reported Dawn.
Responding to the question Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan on Monday said that the only point left for implementation was regarding the prosecution of some people.

He said the country had not been able to come out of the FATF grey list because of political reasons and not on technical grounds, adding that when Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken a bold stance of saying “no” then “the nation will have to definitely pay the price [for it]”.

The question about FATF conditions had originally been asked by PPP’s Shamim Ara Panhwar and it was deferred by the speaker during the assembly session in May.

In a written reply to the question, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin told the assembly that the FATF had reviewed Pakistan’s progress on FATF action plan in its plenary meeting held on February 25.

He said Pakistan had undertaken enormous work to strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regime and address the strategic counterterrorism financing-related deficiencies, reported Dawn.

“This work has been acknowledged by the FATF in its plenary statement by taking note of the significant progress made on the entire action plan and by largely addressing 24 out of the 27 action items in the action plan,” the minister said, adding: “As of now, all the 10 action items pertaining to the financial sector and border controls have been addressed.”

In relation to terrorism financing investigations and prosecutions, he said six of the eight action items had been addressed, whereas for targeted financial sanctions, eight of the nine action items also stood addressed, reported Dawn.

“Pakistan has also made notable progress in the remaining three action items which also stand partially addressed. The progress on the remaining three action items is well underway with significant progress made so far and it is expected that Pakistan would complete remaining action plan items by FATF plenary of June 2021 and would become eligible to exit from grey list in accordance with FATF International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) procedures,” the minister stated in his reply which had been submitted to the National Assembly Secretariat before the June 21 FATF plenary.

Pakistan, however, had been retained in the grey list while failing to complete one action plan point.

Pakistan was retained on the FATF’s ‘grey list’ for failing to effectively implement the global FATF standards and over its lack of progress on investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups.

Announcing the decision at a virtual press conference five-day plenary meeting, FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had said Pakistan will remain on the grey list till it addresses all items on the original action plan agreed to in June 2018 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.

Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.

Pakistan is facing the difficult task of getting its name off from the FATF grey list. As things stand, Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time. (ANI)