(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times)
The Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, a regional affiliate of Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has retained Pakistan on “enhanced follow-up” status for sufficient outstanding requirements while improving the country’s rating on 21 of the 40 technical recommendations of the global watchdog against money laundering and terror financing.
Pakistan was put on the grey list by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June 2018 and the country has been struggling to come out of it. The second Follow-Up Report (FUR) on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the APG also downgraded the country on one criterion. The report said Pakistan was re-rated to compliant’ status on five counts and on 15 others to largely compliant’ and on yet another count to partially compliant’.
Pakistan-based newspaper Dawn reported that overall, Pakistan is now fully compliant with seven recommendations and largely compliant with 24 others. The country is partially compliant with seven recommendations and non-compliant with two out of a total 40 recommendations. All in all, Pakistan is now compliant or largely compliant with 31 out of 40 FATF recommendations. The reporting date for this evaluation was October 1, 2020, which means Islamabad may have made further progress since then that would be evaluated at a later stage.
“Pakistan will move from enhanced (expedited) to enhanced follow-up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of anti-money laundering and combating financing terror measures,” the APG said. Pakistan submitted its third progress report in February 2021 which is yet to be evaluated. “Overall, Pakistan has made notable progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) and has been re-rated on 22 recommendations,” the APG added.
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018. global terror financing watchdog, FATF, in February this year, had retained Pakistan on its “grey list” till June after concluding that Islamabad failed to address its strategically important deficiencies, to fully implement the 27-point action plan that the watchdog had drawn up for Pakistan.
Pakistan’s continuation on the ‘grey list’ means that it will not get any respite in trying to access finances in the form of investments and aid from international bodies including International Monetary Fund (IMF). Pakistan is facing the difficult task of clearing its name 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.