Pakistan needs diplomatic push to exit FATF grey list.

Byline: Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD -- Apart from technical compliance, Pakistan needs to launch an aggressive diplomatic effort over the next four weeks to secure enough support and votes to exit the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) the global watchdog on anti-money laundering (AML) and combating financing terror (CFT).

A senior government official told Dawn that the coming FATF Plenary and Working Group meetings in Orlando, Florida, scheduled for June 16-21, would be crucial for Pakistan to get rid of the grey list or fall into the black list having serious economic reperAcussions. The Orlando plenary will actually set the stage for Pakistan's future even though a formal announcement would come out at the next FATF plenary due in Paris on October 18-23, he said.

Pakistan was now fully compliant with the related United Nations resolutions, said the official who was part of the Pakistani delegation to 'Face-to-Face meeting' of the Asia-Pacific Group, a regional affiliate of the FATF, in Guangzhou, China last week.

Read: Asia-Pacific Group raises questions over efforts against terror financing

Next month's meetings of global watchdog will be crucial

Pakistan has taken aggressive steps over the last two months in terms of regulatory and monitoring mechanism to meet the FATF requirements and its legal system is generally up to the mark, except some amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2010 pending before the National Assembly's standing committee on finance and revenue.

'We believe we have generally delivered on the technical side i.e. legal and administrative action, regulations, monitoring, enforcement and inter-agency and stakeholder coordination and now require more of the diplomatic push to counter the adversaries,' said the official.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was expected be given a briefing on the Guangzhou meeting and on the way forward on Monday. He said it was expected Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi would now coordinate with stakeholders on a strategy to reach out to the world capitals in difficult diplomatic environment where the US-India grouping has greater influence and non-aligned members of the FATF prefer to abstain than siding with Pakistan.

Sources said Pakistan required about 15-16 votes to move out of the grey list and a minimum of three votes to avoid falling into the blacklist. The FATF currently comprises 36 members with voting powers and two regional...

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