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Pakistan to stay on FATF's gray list until June

FATF, global money laundering watchdog, decides to keep Islamabad on grey list for 4 more months

Aamir Latif   | 21.02.2020
Pakistan to stay on FATF's gray list until June

KARACHI, Pakistan 

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money-laundering watchdog, on Friday announced to keep Pakistan on its watch list until June this year. 

"FATF members agreed to maintain Pakistan’s status on FATF’s Compliance Document, normally referred as the Gray List," said a statement by the 36-nation watchdog.

The next review will take place in June, it added.

Recognizing Pakistan’s "significant progress" in the implementation of the 27-point Action Plan, which was demonstrated by the completion of nine additional action items, the statement said: “FATF reviewed progress made by Pakistan towards the implementation of the Action Plan. While acknowledging the steps taken by Pakistan towards the implementation of the plan and welcoming its high-level political commitment, FATF highlighted the need for further actions for completing the Action Plan by June 2020.”

Islamabad has been on the global money-laundering watchdog's radar since June 2018, when it was placed on its gray list for terrorist financing and money laundering risks after an assessment of the country's financial system and security mechanism.

The South Asian nuclear nation has since twice escaped being placed on the watchdog's financial crime blacklist with the support of Ankara, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.

Last Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while addressing a joint sitting of the Pakistani parliament, had assured his country's continued support for Islamabad in its bid to stay off the FATF blacklist at the Paris meeting.

According to the FATF charter, a country must have the support of at least three member states to avoid blacklisting.

In recent months, Islamabad has taken some major steps under the plan, under which the country will allow no foreign currency transactions without a national tax number and ban currency changes of up to $500 in the open currency market without the sides submitting a copy of their identification documents.

In addition to that, Pakistan has also proscribed several militant groups and seized their assets, including Jamaat ud Dawah, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) -- the groups blamed for several terrorist attacks such as the 2009 deadly Mumbai attacks killing over 150 people.

Earlier this month, an anti-terrorism court sentenced Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the chief of the Jamaat ud Dawah (JuD), to 11 years in jail in two terror-financing cases -- a development widely seen as an attempt to woo FATF members.

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