The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided, in principle, to keep Pakistan in its Grey List till February 2020, directing Islamabad to take extra measures for complete elimination of terror financing and money laundering, according to media reports on Wednesday.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
In a meeting in Paris on Tuesday, the FATF reviewed the measures that Pakistan has already taken to control money laundering and terror financing, reported Dawn News.
The Paris-based task force has urged Pakistan to take extra measures for complete elimination of terror financing, it quoted Aaj TV. The FATF will take a final decision on Pakistan’s position in February 2020.
A formal announcement about the interim developments will be made on Friday, which is the last day of the FATF’s ongoing session, the report said.
However, Pakistan’s Finance Ministry spokesperson Omar Hameed Khan rejected the reports of the country remaining in the Grey List, saying “it is not true and nothing before October 18 (can be confirmed)”.
The FATF has decided to give respite of four months to Pakistan to help her implement remaining recommendations of the task force, Aaj TV reported.
Earlier at the FATF meeting in Paris, Pakistan’s Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar had explained his country’s positive performance in 20 of the 27 parameters to check terror financing.
China, Turkey and Malaysia “appreciated” the steps taken by Pakistan, Dawn News reported. The support of at least three countries is required to not blacklist any country.
At the Tuesday meeting, India recommended the blacklisting of Pakistan citing Islamabad permitting Hafiz Saeed to withdraw funds from his frozen accounts, the report said.
The meeting is being attended by representatives from 205 countries, the IMF, the UN, the World Bank and other organisations. Concerns were also raised on the tax amnesty scheme offered in Pakistan, the report added.
Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the Paris-based watchdog in June last year and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea.
If Pakistan continues in the ‘Grey List’, it would be very difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, making its financial condition more precarious.
Islamabad is obligated to report its performance to the group every three months.