The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global watchdog for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, is expected to announce whether Pakistan will be removed from or retained on its increased monitoring list, also known as the “grey list,” today (Friday), but the government is optimistic that the decision will be in Pakistan’s favour.
On Tuesday, the four-day plenary session in Berlin, Germany, began. According to the FATF’s website, authorities will hold a news conference at 7:30 p.m. today to discuss the results of the meeting.
The plenary session is being attended by delegates representing 206 FATF members and observers. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units are among the observers.
According to information available at the time, a government spokesperson informed BBC Urdu that the verdict was expected to be in Pakistan’s favour. He clarified, however, that even if the country was removed from the list, it would take seven to eight months to “settle matters”.
A FATF delegation will visit Pakistan if it was removed from the list, the spokeswoman claimed, to “satisfy itself that action on its recommendations has been done.”
According to diplomatic sources, China and several other allies are secretly working to remove Pakistan from the grey list as soon as possible after the recent plenary session.
Recent international media reports have also cited China’s “silent lobbying,” with one Indian news outlet reporting that the plenary session “is expected to opt to remove Pakistan from the list of countries under heightened monitoring, often known as the grey list.”
Several politicians and journalists, largely from the PTI, announced today on social media that Pakistan has been removed from the FATF’s grey list. Prejudicing the outcome and speculative reporting should be avoided, according to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who is leading Pakistan’s team in Berlin.
She stated that the plenary discussions were still going on and that the FATF would publish a statement after they were finished tonight.
She also stated that a press conference on the subject would be conducted at the foreign ministry on Saturday (tomorrow).
The #FATF Plenary Meetings r continuing in Berlin. FATF will issue a Public Statement after conclusion of the meetings tonight. Prejudging the outcome or speculative reporting could and should be avoided.
GOP has arranged a media briefing at MOFA on Saturday morning on this issue
— Hina R Khar (@HinaRKhar) June 17, 2022
Marriyum Aurangzeb, the Minister of Information, also called for an end to speculation about the conclusion of the plenary session, calling it “wrong.”
How is a country removed from the FATF list?
To be removed from the FATF’s monitoring list, a country must complete all or almost all of the components of its action plan, according to the FATF website. Once the global watchdog has determined that a country has completed all of the components, it will schedule an on-site visit to “confirm that the necessary legal, regulatory, and/or operational reforms are being implemented and that the necessary political commitment and institutional capacity to sustain implementation is in place.”
If the visit is successful, the FATF will decide at its next plenary to remove the country from public identification.
Through the FATF’s standard follow-up process, the government will continue to work on enhancing its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regimes.