A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar has departed for Paris, France, to attend the next meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – that is scheduled to examine Pakistan’s compliance report for an effective implementation of its 40 recommendations for AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering / Combating Financing of Terrorism).

If satisfied, the FATF may consider exiting Pakistan from its grey list. Pakistan’s case will be taken up on Oct 14 and 15.

Pakistan has effectively complied with one of another strong conditions put forward by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) – a regional affiliate of the FATF – to implement measures for curbing black money in the real estate sector.

Pakistan has undertaken a plan to establish a ‘Real Estate Regulatory Authority’ to restrict black money in the sector.

The Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) prepared an initial draft the establishment of the authority in accordance with the standards of the FATF.

The country will ensure that lands and properties are not transferred in the name of any terrorist organizations or banned outfit. However, matters pertaining to taxation on the real estate sector are excluded from the scope of the authority.

Moreover, federal institutions will support the formation of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority – that will make it mandatory for businessmen who are involved in the real estate businesses to register themselves with the authority and essential documentation of the businesses will follow.

Importantly, a report finalised by the SECP mentioned that the comprehensive guideline developed by the Commission has helped financial institutions to generate 219 Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs) in just one year, as compared to 13 STRs in eight years.

In order to comply with the FATF’s standards, it has developed a set of regulations –SECP AML/CFT Regulations – in June 2018.

Furthermore, it has conducted 167 inspections, focusing on AML/CFT compliance in the cases of 72 securities brokers, 27 non-banking financial companies, 13 insurance companies and 55 high risk non-profit organisations.

This year, Pakistan has made significant improvements in its systems to fight money laundering (ML) and terror financing (TF) as per international standards.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera TV in September, Prime Minister Imran Khan alleged that New Delhi was trying to bankrupt Pakistan and push it into the FATF blacklist.

The 41-member APG had adopted 3rd Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) on Pakistan during Aug 13-18 meetings in Canberra, Australia, and downgraded the country to “Enhanced Follow-up” category over technical deficiencies to meet normal international financial standards by October 2018.

As a result, Pakistan is now required to submit quarterly progress reports, instead of biannual, to the APG, starting Feb 1, 2020 to show improvements in its technical standards on AML/CFT.