ISLAMABAD: With chances that Pakistan may be removed from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF) after their scheduled on-site visit by the end of the month, Thursday saw Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar chairing a meeting of the National FATF Coordination Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The on-site visit will help verify the implementation of the country’s reforms on counter-terror financing mechanisms, and the FATF will determine whether the government’s actions are sustainable. The visit, according to the FATF, will be conducted by experts who have been handling the Pakistan file.
At the time, Ms Khar had remarked in Berlin,“ It will be our full effort that this technical team will be able to visit and complete its process before the October 2022 plenary cycle. We hope that we will be able to exit the grey list at the October 2022 plenary”.
Pakistan has been working closely with the FATF in this regard. Earlier, after rigorous efforts in Berlin by Ms Khar and her team, Pakistan is now hoping for a positive outcome. This will lead accordingly to FATF guidelines, a decision on removing the jurisdiction from public identification at the next FATF plenary.
On Thursday, the minister was given detailed briefings on recent legal, policy and administrative actions to improve the effectiveness of Pakistan’s Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, said the Foreign Office.
“The minister of state expressed satisfaction on the trajectory of reforms and appreciated the collective, system-wide efforts in bringing Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime at a par with the international standards, which remains a top priority of the government,” she was quoted as saying.
The meeting was attended by senior officers from the National FATF Secretariat, Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Law and Justice, State Bank of Pakistan, Financial Monitoring Unit, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, National Counter-Terrorism Authority, Federal Investigation Agency, Anti-Narcotics Force, and the National Accountability Bureau.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO-RATS), Ruslan Mirzaev, called on Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the Foreign Office today. The minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the goals and purposes of the SCO Charter and the ‘Shanghai Spirit.’
“The foreign minister underscored the importance of regional platforms such as SCO-RATS to promote coordinated efforts in countering terrorism and extremism”, the Foreign Office said. Bilawal stressed that no country can single-handedly solve complex peace and security issues in the region and highlighted the need for developing common approaches to address persistent as well as emerging challenges.
Director Mirzaev emphasized that deliberately politicizing discussions related to countering terrorism and extremism were counter-productive and contrary to the objectives of the organisation.
The foreign minister said that Pakistan would support all efforts aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of SCO-RATS. He commended the approach adopted by the Executive Committee in developing a consensus on the issue and assured the director of Pakistan’s constructive engagement in the matter.
The director of the Executive Committee of SCO-RATS is on an official visit to Pakistan. During the visit he had working level meetings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Counter Terrorism Authority, and other relevant security institutions. The director was briefed on Pakistan’s successes in countering terrorism and extremism, overview of the regional situation, and threats posed by new and emerging challenges in the region.
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