LAHORE    -  The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has found that Pakistan has successfully complied with 21 out of 27 points of action and decided to keep the country on its ‘grey list’ until February 2021, the watchdog’s president said on Friday.

FATF President Marcus Pleyer announced the decision at a virtual press conference held after the body’s three-day plenary session came to an end.

The global watchdog reviewed Pakistan’s progress on the 27-point action plan for addressing anti-money laundering and terror financing in its plenary session that started on October 21.

In a statement issued after the plenary session concluded, the financial watchdog said: “To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021.” 

The statement added that Pakistan needed to work on four areas to “address its strategic deficiencies.” These include demonstrating that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of terror financing activity, which target designated persons and entities, and those who act on the behalf/direction of the designated persons or entities. In response to a question, Pleyer said that the FATF members had decided “by consensus” that Pakistan needed to work on the six outstanding items before the body would consider paying an “on-site visit” to review country’s progress on the ground. Answering another question, FATF president said that after the visit by an assessment team, the FATF body would review Pakistan’s case in its plenary meeting and decide if the country should be taken off the ‘grey list’. He pointed out, however, that there was “another process going on in the Asian Pacific Group” where Pakistan’s case is being evaluated. The FATF places those countries on its grey list which are not taking measures to combat terror funding and money laundering. In February, the FATF had given Islamabad a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point action plan, noting that Pakistan had delivered on 14 points but missed 13 other targets. On July 28, the government reported to parliament compliance with 14 points of the 27-point action plan and with 10 of the 40 recommendations. By September 16, however, the joint session of the parliament amended about 15 laws to upgrade its legal system matching international standards as required by the FATF.