Pakistan’s foreign minister on funding watchdog ‘grey list’: ‘Will follow…’

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Pakistan has been on the FATF gray list since June 2018. (File)

Islamabad:

Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Sunday that his country is committed to meeting international standards on combating terrorist financing and money laundering.

The Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog said on Friday that Pakistan would continue to be on the “grey list” of countries under increased scrutiny by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). .

He said Pakistan could be removed from the list after an on-site visit to verify the implementation of its reforms on countering terrorist financing mechanisms.

“Let me reiterate the high-level commitment of the Pakistani government to continue to align our AML/CFT (anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism) regime with global standards,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a statement.

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He said Pakistan was determined to continue this positive trajectory of financial sector reform as part of its broader strategic objective of strengthening its economy.

The foreign minister also expressed hope that this “good news” from the FATF will restore confidence in the Pakistani economy and serve as a catalyst for sustained growth and development.

“I welcome FATF’s unanimous recognition of Pakistan’s completion of its 2018 and 2021 action plans,” he said, praising the hard work and efforts of the Pakistani FATF team.

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“It is the result of concerted national efforts and a perfect harmony of the interests of all stakeholders,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan looked forward to the on-site visit and the speedy and successful conclusion of the process leading to Pakistan’s graduation from the gray list.

Pakistan has been on the FATF gray list since June 2018 for failing to control money laundering, leading to the financing of terrorism, and received an action plan to complete the task by October 2019.

With Pakistan remaining on the gray list, it has become increasingly difficult for Islamabad to obtain financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, which further aggravates the problems for the country.

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The FATF is an intergovernmental body created in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The FATF currently has 39 members, including two regional organizations – the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia-Pacific Group.

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