Paris:The crucial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary at Paris starts today to decide whether Pakistan stays in or out of the ‘Grey List’ it is currently placed in.
Pakistani delegation in the leadership of Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar has reached Paris to participate in the crucial meeting.
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.
Pakistan can either be moved out of the Grey List or into the Black List. If blacklisted, the country will join the ranks of Iran and North Korea, and find it extremely difficult to access funds for an already crippled.
If Pakistan is whitelisted, it will be easy for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and the European Union, helping improve its precarious financial situation.
Pakistan requires about 15-16 votes to move out of the Grey List and a minimum of three votes to avoid falling into the blacklist.
The FATF currently comprises 36 members with voting powers and two regional organisations, representing most of the major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
In January, experts had said that there is a good chance Pakistan could get out of the Grey List. There is active support from China, and tactical support of some Western countries. Other reports stated Pakistan may remain on the FATF’s Grey List beyond February 2020 for money laundering and terror financing due to its “risk profile”. At a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held in Beijing in January, Islamabad submitted its compliance report and got support from the FATF current chair and its “all-weather friend” China and a few Western powers.
“The next plenary of the FATF will be held in Paris and Pakistan needs just 12 votes out of 39 to exit the Grey List and move to White List. There is a strong possibility of Islamabad getting enough support to exit the Grey List,” an expert official privy to the development had said then. In recent meetings of FATF, Pakistan has got support of Malaysia and Turkey besides China. “We will be supporting Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force meetings, where Pakistan is subject to political pressure,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had told Pakistan’s parliament on Saturday.
If Pakistan could convince a few Western nations with their report of taking action against terrorists, the country will be out of FATF Grey List, which will be a cause of worry for India, the official said.
In the Beijing meeting, Pakistan provided a list of its action taken to comply with the FATF diktat. Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the FATF in June 2018, and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.