Pakistan should come off FATF grey list: Qureshi

Pakistan should come off FATF grey list: Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. (AFP Photo)

 Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said Pakistan should be taken off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 'grey list' as it has made considerable progress on the requirements of the international terror financing watchdog.

Pakistan's all-weather ally China, which hosted a key meeting of the FATF in Beijing, said on Thursday that Islamabad has made "visible progress" to strengthen its counter terrorism financing system, which should be encouraged by the world community.

The Paris-based FATF's Asia Pacific Joint Group met in Beijing this week to scrutinise Pakistan's progress report to adopt stricter laws against terror financing and money laundering. China is the president of the FATF and co-chair for Asia Pacific Joint Group.

"Pakistan presented its point of view. We presented all of the practical steps we have taken in the past 10 months in front of the member nations. And I am delighted to say that everyone appreciated our efforts and said that the progress made in the past 10 months is more than the progress made in the last 10 years," Qureshi told media at his hometown Multan, when asked about the developments in the FATF meeting in Beijing.

Asserting that the country has made considerable progress on the requirements of the FATF and hence, should be taken off its grey-list, the Foreign Minister said all member, except India, agreed that Pakistan made progress in tacking the issues related to terror financing.

"India, of course, disagreed. But India has never wanted for Pakistan to be taken off the grey list. In fact, it wants Pakistan to be added to the blacklist," he said.

A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar is in Beijing to brief the financial task force about the steps taken by Islamabad to implement the recommendations made by the FATF.

The FATF in October last decided to keep Pakistan on its 'Grey' list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and others.

If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.

Pakistan has submitted a 650-page review report to the FATF on January 8. The report was submitted in response to 150 questions raised by the FATF regarding new Pakistani policies on money laundering. The report outlined the steps taken by Pakistan between October 2019 to January 2020 to implement the group’s recommendations.

The FATF meeting scrutinises whether Pakistan has complied with an earlier agenda presented to it.

The FATF is backed by the UN Security Council passed resolutions which made its recommendations binding and in case of deficiencies, sanctions could be imposed.