FATF Plenary Meeting

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is scheduled to meet this week, from June 14 to 17, 2022, in Berlin where it will be decided whether Pakistan has fulfilled all of the requirements needed to exit the list. According to sources, Pakistani officials appear to be quite hopeful of a positive outcome from the plenary meeting as they believe that there has been substantial progress that has been acknowledged by FATF members.

There is no denying that Pakistan has put in sincere efforts over the years to bring about the recommended structural changes. In fact, many experts are of the opinion that very few countries have been subjected to the kind of scrutiny which Islamabad has during the past four years. Additionally, it must be pointed out that Pakistan had completed most of its requirements, and the grey listing was extended over certain anti-money laundering measures, for which countries such as the UAE have also been included in the list.

Now that the authorities have played their part, it remains to be seen if the FATF community is satisfied with the progress. It is also important to recognise the efforts of the previous government when it comes to instituting key reforms during its tenure and bringing us so close to the finish line. Before Pakistan can be excluded from the list however, FATF is expected to send its team over for onsite inspection to take stock of the progress that has been made.

The signs appear to be positive all around with the German Ambassador to Pakistan, Bernhard Schlagheck also stating that he expects a positive verdict for Pakistan and that it is also likely that its GSP Plus status will be renewed. Removal from the list will come as a significant relief for Pakistan and will also perhaps reduce the challenges faced by the country when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment. Pakistan has had to endure a lot in terms of increased scrutiny and reputational damage and the hope is that this chapter can be closed once and for all.

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