Credit for FATF triumph goes to State, not to any political party: Hina

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 18 (DNA): Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina
Rabbani Khar has declared that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has
acknowledged the completion of both action plans by Pakistan and the
credit for it goes to the State and not to any political party.

Ms Khar was addressing a presser in Islamabad on Saturday after her
return from Berlin where she went to attend the plenary meeting of the
Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

She hoped that Pakistan would come off the FATF grey list by October.
She hoped once the country was off the FATF watch list, our economy
would be improved.

She lauded the state’s foremost measures aimed at stemming the financial
aid to terrorists and discouraging money laundering. She said that
Pakistan is now “one step away” from exiting the FATF grey list, and the
planned on-site visit is a procedural requirement.

“The 2018 action plan has been closed and no pendency of action remains
on Pakistan’s part,” she said, adding Pakistan had submitted three
progress reports to the FATF regarding an action plan given last year
which was related to money laundering. “I am pleased to announce that
Pakistan has completed the entire seven-point action plan a year ahead
of the given timelines,” she added.

She eulogized the efforts of the state for enabling Pakistan to complete
the action plan given by the international financial watchdog and
succeeded in exiting the vicious grey list. She, however, cautioned,
that the forthcoming exit did not warrant any celebrations as she
regarded celebrations as bit premature. She only hoped that the FATF
would remain impartial.

“The process to come off the grey list has just begun. It’s not the
culmination, rather it’s the beginning. We hope that Pakistan will come
out of the list forever. Governments come and go. But the efforts which
the state has made are commendable. We are ready to give credit to those
who want this credit,” she said jubilantly adding that she would rather
give credit to her team and her team is ‘Team Pakistan.’

Hina Khar said the development spoke volumes about the comprehensive
reforms carried out in Pakistan in the anti-money laundering and counter
terror financing (AML/CFT) domain and credited the country’s “sustained
momentum and result of our efforts”.

“Consequent to the fruitful discussions held at the plenary meeting, the
FATF has decided by consensus that Pakistan has addressed all technical
benchmarks and completed all action plans – 2018 and 2021,” she
elaborated.

Hina declared that the FATF has now cleared Pakistan and the process to
get off the “grey list” has been set into motion and a FATF team will
visit Pakistan soon for the purpose.

“Pakistan is one step away from exiting the FATF ‘grey list’ and we are
closely working with FATF to arrange a meeting,” Hina Khar said.

The global anti-money laundering watchdog on Friday expressed
satisfaction with Pakistan’s performance but it stopped short of
removing it from its ‘grey list’. In a delayed press conference about
decisions taken in its plenary, the body’s president Dr Marcus Pleyer
said that a FATF team would conduct an on-site visit to Pakistan at the
earliest possible date.

“The progress made and recognised by our commitment to improve our […]
and CFT systems…,” Hina remaked, adding that the FATF has decided that
Pakistan has addressed all technical benchmarks and has completed all
requirements of both action plans, that of 2018, and that of 2021.

It was “no less than Herculean feat” and a “remarkable achievement”,
Hina said, adding FATF has now authorised an on-site visit of its
technical team to validate the process of the implementation of reforms.
“Let me emphasise because there might be some confusion, that this is
part of the procedure of taking Pakistan out of the grey list,” she
said, “When you authorise a country’s removal from the grey list, the
first step is that you authorise an on-site technical evaluation which
has been done in this plenary.”

She said that Pakistan’s positive and speedy progress, which paved the
way for its exit from the grey list, was greatly appreciated and
welcomed by the FATF members.

Pakistan is one step away from exiting the grey list, the state minister
said, who led the delegation to FATF in Berlin.

She was of the view that Friday’s development marked the beginning of
the end process that will eventually culminate in the exit of Pakistan
from the grey list, inshallah and hopefully forever. The foreign
ministry was working with the FATF team on mutually workable dates to
conclude the visit before the October plenary.

On the sidelines, Pakistan stressed its high-level commitment to
anti-money laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) to
strengthen its regime and bring it to par with global standards. “I
cannot emphasise this enough. We will highlight the complete national
consensus. I can assure you that this is the government’s commitment to
take this forward,” Hina stressed.

Hina said: “We will celebrate the national consensus. I want to also
stress that cooperation with FATF and the international community is
grounded in our own strategy objective of strengthening our economy.”

The minister expressed her confidence that this “good news” from FATF
would restore confidence in Pakistan’s economy, and will give Pakistan a
much-needed boost to improve the investment climate. “I really want to
emphasis on the tireless efforts of our teams who have done a tremendous
job,” Hina commended.

This is going to be a cross-government effort, she said and emphasised
that it was for the state of Pakistan. “Governments come and go. But
Pakistan’s consensus will continue on this,” Hina maintained.

The minister added that Pakistan is in a position now where it can
sustain its trajectory of reforms. “We feel we are quite a bit ahead of
the curve compared to other countries. We can be in some ways a model
for other countries to follow. We will exit the grey list as
soon as possible.” DNA

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