‘A remarkable achievement’: Pakistan one step away from exiting gray list, says Kharo

Minister of State for External Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said on Saturday that Pakistan is now “one step away” from exiting the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “grey list”, and that the planned site visit is a procedural requirement.

She was briefing the media a day after the watchdog accepted That Pakistan has completed the items of the Action Plan and made a site visit to verify the implementation and stability of the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures, before removing it from its enhanced watch list.

“The 2018 action plan has been put on hold and no action is pending from Pakistan side,” he said.

He shared that Pakistan had submitted three progress reports to the FATF with regard to an action plan given last year which was related to money laundering. “I am pleased to announce that Pakistan has completed the full seven-point action plan a year ahead of the given deadline.”

Khar said the development spoke of the extensive reforms undertaken in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terror Financing (AML/CFT) domain in Pakistan and credited the country’s “sustained momentum and efforts”.

“As a result of the fruitful discussions held at the plenary meeting, the FATF has unanimously decided that Pakistan has addressed all technical parameters and completed all action plans. [given in] 2018 and 2021.”

He described the FATF’s approval as “no less than a daunting feat and a remarkable achievement”.

Reading: There and again: A timeline of Pakistan’s unfortunate ‘grey listing’ by FATF

Talking about the visit to the site, the minister said it was part of the process of removing Pakistan from the “grey list” and would validate the process of implementation of the reforms.

“Pakistan is one step away from exiting the gray list,” he insisted. “On-site visits mark the beginning of the end [of the] The process which will eventually result in Pakistan’s exit from the gray list, hopefully forever.”

Khar shared that the government is working closely with the global watchdog to schedule the visit on mutually convenient dates so that the process can be concluded before the plenary session of the FATF in October.

“We are uncovering the full national consensus. I assure the government’s commitment to take [process] Proceed with national consensus. I would also like to emphasize that Pakistan’s cooperation with the FATF and the international community is based on our strategic objective of strengthening our economy and improving its integration into the international financial system.

‘Boosting the economy’

The Minister expressed confidence that the approval of FATF will boost confidence in Pakistan’s economy and improve the investment climate.

“I also want to acknowledge, really, the tireless efforts of the teams that have put in a tremendous amount of work in achieving these difficult, difficult and complex goals. I think that is something to celebrate. “

He noted that many departments and agencies at the federal and provincial levels have contributed to the national cause.

“It also shows that when we work together, across the country, across the country, we can sometimes achieve what is considered impossible. It’s going to be a cross-government effort,” she said. accepted.

The minister said that Pakistan is now in a position to not only maintain the pace of reforms but also to provide guidance and technical assistance to other countries on the list. “We are well ahead of the curve,” she said.

“I know we are very forward regarding the financial regulation system – CFT and AML law – within the region, but we are also doing well when you compare us to international benchmarks.

“I am sure we will be fully prepared to go on site and get off the gray list as soon as possible,” she said.

“The urge to share news has hurt us in the past”, the minister said, advising caution in sharing developments related to FATF. He said the government had been “very, very careful” by allowing the plenary to announce its decision before sharing.

Removal from the “grey list” would be a new beginning, he added, adding that Pakistan would then look to strengthen its system as per its requirements instead of reporting to others.

Responding to a question, Khar acknowledged that Pakistan was the only country that was asked to complete the two action plans. “It was quite unprecedented. In fact, we were the only country that had two simultaneous action plans to implement. It was tedious, tedious, it was hard … there was a legal framework to take care of, amend it And then new laws, structures and systems were institutionalized.”

‘Ready to share credit’

Responding to another question on why development took so long, the minister said the process was very thorough and the action plan had subtle details that required the country to act at many different levels, that is, Cause it was time consuming.

Khar said the process strengthened Pakistan’s system and enabled it to project itself as a responsible country.

He said the current government is “willing to share the credit with whoever wants a piece of the pie” as the action plan was implemented over several years.

Reading: ‘Proud of you’: Former PM Imran calls FATF decision an achievement of Hammad Azhar-led committee

“If I would give credit to anyone, it would be my team, and by that I mean the Pakistan team, because we are representing the state of Pakistan right now. I will give credit to every member of the team who is visible and background in it,” she said

“Let’s not celebrate too much right now. The process has begun and the site tour is yet to come, and our journey will continue after that, continuing to strengthen the law and administration.”

The minister said that there seems to be more interest in taking credit for development than development. “We are giving credit to all and deserve it. As I said, this is not the agenda of a certain political party but the agenda of Pakistan.”

The current government “will not react to immaturity with immaturity”, he added, adding that it will be a win-win situation if everyone believes they have a stake in the process.

The minister said that Pakistan now needs to prepare for a visit to the site to technically assess the country’s claims that it has completed all the action plans. “Obviously, we did enough to get the green light.”

He said chasing down those involved in terrorism financing is part of the country’s national agenda and emphasized that the reforms being undertaken are aimed at the national interest.

‘A country tried to make it political’

“We have always emphasized that the FATF should be non-political, technical and impartial,” he said.

The minister was also asked whether there was any political motivation to keep Pakistan on the “grey list”, to which he replied that the country has always insisted that the FATF should remain apolitical, some countries are not involved in Pakistan. were “involved” in an attempt to maintain the status of in the list.

“A certain, singular country, at least to which we can all name it, has always tried to make this process a political one and has been a spanner at the wheel, and to realize that we must Got through consensus in appearance. .. we have to be white compared to others but it shows how much we have achieved.”

‘Never again’

Talking about the lessons Pakistan learned, Khar said the message to the country was “never again”.

“We would never again want to be part of a list that would require us to divert our attention from our national needs. [international] reporting requirements. We never want to slip into it again. This is the biggest lesson.”

Khar said Pakistan had certainly raised the “leaking” of developments related to FATF before the conclusion of the plenary session. “There are very strict privacy regulations. The FATF takes this very seriously. When you do this you are really putting the credibility of the country at risk.”

Though he did not name India himself, he said, “The country you (reporter) mentioned is openly doing this and has been caught doing so.” He said other countries understood that what happened was wrong.

“I don’t mind saying that there was political pressure on Pakistan. There was certainly a political angle to the lengthy process and there were sky-high expectations from Pakistan. [We] Did diplomatic engagement to neutralize the political angle because if a country makes an intense campaign against you, you have to do it.”

He said that a report on India will also be made part of the plenary meeting of FATF in 2023.

Asked about the role of the allies, Khar said he believed that Pakistan deserves the aid of friendly countries as it has not only honored its commitments but also “performed more”. He declined to name the Allies, but said his ministry would reach out to them.

“I want to emphasize that Pakistan has earned this through its hard work, consistent, consistent work and a national approach to problem-solving.

“We have not allowed any one country to politicize it and for this, we have maintained close engagement with friendly countries at all levels including ministerial level.”

Announcing the watchdog’s decision yesterday, FATF President Dr Marcus Player acknowledged the reforms implemented by the country, saying “they are good for the country’s stability and security”.

However, he added that “Pakistan is not being removed from the gray list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully visits the site”.

Plier said that Pakistan will have to ensure that [during the visit] That it effectively dealt with money laundering and the funding of terrorist groups.