FATF onsite visit is just a formality: Khar

ISLAMABAD – Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who led Pakistan delegation at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in German capital Berlin, has said that Pakistan is now only a step away from getting off the grey list of the global anti-money laundering watchdog and made it clear that a planned visit by FATF technical team to Pakistan in near future is mere a technical and procedural formality.

Addressing a press conference at the Foreign Office here yesterday, Hina Rabbani Khar said that FATF has acknowledged completion of both Action Plans by Pakistan, duly recognized our tremendous progress and commitment to improve our AML/CFT systems.

“Consequent to the fruitful discussions held in the Plenary, the FATF decided, by consensus, that Pakistan has addressed all technical benchmarks and has completed all requirements of the both Action Plans as a result of this remarkable achievement, FATF has now authorized an on-site visit of its technical team to Pakistan to validate whether the process of implementation of reforms”, Hina Rabbani said.

She said that the successful completion of the FATF Action Plans and its formal endorsement by FATF means that Pakistan is now a step away from exiting from the grey list.

“The on-site visit is a procedural requirement. It marks the beginning of the end-process that will eventually culminate in the exit of Pakistan from FATF’s grey list,” the minister said.

Giving a background, she said in the 2018 Action Plan, this was considered in our eleventh report to FATF.

“FATF has now acknowledged by consensus that all action items have been largely addressed by Pakistan. The 2018 Action Plan has been closed with no pendency of action on the part of Pakistan”, she made it clear.

About, the 2021 Action Plan, which was mostly related to money laundering issues, she said Pakistan submitted three progress reports.

“I am very pleased to announce that Pakistan has completed the entire seven-point Action Plan a year ahead of the prescribed timelines”, the minister of state for foreign affairs said.

Pakistan’s exiting from grey list

| Minister of state says FATF has endorsed Pakistan largely completed all 34 points | Gives credit to all political parties, present and previous govts for this achievement | Foresees improved climate for foreign investments

She said this swift pace and progress is indicative of the comprehensive reforms and actions that have been carried out by Pakistan in the AML/CFT domain and the sustained momentum of our efforts.

Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan’s positive and speedy progress was greatly appreciated and welcomed by FATF members.

She said Pakistan is working closely with the FATF to arrange the on-site visit at mutually convenient dates with a view to conclude the entire process at the earliest and before the next FATF Plenary in October 2022.

“During our interactions on the sidelines of the FATF Plenary, we stressed Pakistan’s high-level political commitment that has brought our AML/CFT framework at par with global standards. We have been highlighting the complete national consensus in Pakistan on this issue which is supported by institutional harmony and synergy”, she remarked.

She assured that Pakistan’s cooperation with the FATF and the international community is grounded in our strategic objective of strengthening our economy and further improving its integration with the international financial system.

“I am confident that this good news from FATF will restore confidence in our economy, will give it a much-needed boost, and would improve the investment climate”, she hoped

Hina Rabbani commended the team work by all government institutions and acknowledged the tireless efforts of teams who worked day and night to achieve objectives and completed FATF Action Plans.

“This was indeed a whole country’s response. Multiple ministries, departments and agencies, at all levels of the government have contributed to this national cause. It also demonstrates that when we work together with a sense of purpose we can achieve remarkable things”, Hina Rabbani Khar remarked.

She expressed her gratitude to Pakistan’s international partners and friends for their understanding, support and cooperation throughout this process.

She went on to say that Pakistan is in a position that not only can sustain its trajectory of reforms well into the future, but can also provide guidance and technical support to other countries in this area.

About the on site visit by FATF, Hina Rabbani Khar said she was sure that  she  along with her team  would  be fully prepared during the On-site visit and would exit the Grey List at the earliest.

Hina Khar further said that FATF had now formally acknowledged the completion of both actions plans by Pakistan containing 34 points and duly recognized the tremendous progress and commitment to improve its systems.

The FATF after discussions decided by consensus that Pakistan had completed all the requirements of the both action plans and thus authorized an on-site visit of the technical team to Pakistan to validate the process of implementation of reforms.

She explained that it was a technical requirement for those countries that were removed from the grey list. The on-site visit would evaluate the arrangements, legislation, coordination among the different bodies and their offices etc, she added.

Replying to a question, she said that all the political parties, the present and the previous governments deserved credit for making progress over the objective as it was a national cause and ‘a win win situation for Pakistan’.

The minister said taking all drastic measures with national consensus were in Pakistan’s interests to show to the world that it was a responsible country.

To another query regarding boycott of the FATF’s legislation by the opposition parties during PTI’s tenure, she maintained that they had adopted the legislation in the parliamentary committees. They only opposed the legislation process in the parliament as the previous ruling party was bulldozing the set procedures, she added.

Responding to a question regarding India’s attempts to leak FATF proceedings, she said that the body had been very strict to the confidentiality of its reports.

On the other hand, Pakistan manifested itself as the responsible country and a part of responsible international economic framework.

She also expressed the optimism that the achievement at FATF would also restore the economic stability.

 

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