ISLAMABAD: A high-level Pakistani delegation reached Beijing for important three-day face-to-face talks with the global money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Working Group that would start on January 21.
The Pakistani delegation is headed by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hamad Azhar and comprises representatives of National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), Foreign Ministry, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Customs, Interior Ministry and Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU).
It has been learnt that there is a possibility that voting might be done to consider Pakistan’s exit from the ‘grey list.
If Pakistan does not come out of the ‘grey list’, it is expected to win a ‘largely-compliant’ rating from the FATF regarding the implementation of 27 recommendations given in its Action Plan that can help it acquire more time from the watchdog for full compliance.
The sources said that India is trying hard to get Pakistan the ‘black-listed’ but support from China, Turkey and Malaysia would pour cold water on its efforts.
Pakistan already sent a 650-page review report to the FATF on January 8 in reply to 150 questions raised by the FATF and now the Pakistani delegation would present details about the steps taken from October 2019 to January 2020 keeping in view the recommendations of the FATF Action Plan.
The FATF announced on October 18 last year that it would retain Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ for four months after which Pakistan might face action if it failed to make any significant progress on the inter-governmental body’s 27-point Action Plan. The Pakistani delegation will provide details to the FATF about the cases registered so far against the banned outfits, sentences given to members of proscribed organizations, registration process of seminaries, steps taken against money-laundering, dismantling of terror finance system and investigation into over 500 cases regarding transfer of funds to terror groups.
China has categorically stated that the purpose of FATF is to help countries better combat illegal activities such as money laundering and terror financing, rather than sanctioning or punishing them.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson in his statement stated, “Not long ago, the FATF plenary meeting decided to keep Pakistan’s rating unchanged. This shows the FATF membership’s recognition of Pakistan’s progress in improving the system of countering the financing of terrorism, as well as encouragement for Pakistan’s efforts.”