Indian Media Reports Of FATF Blacklisting Pakistan Are Baseless: Finance Ministry
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance on Friday dismissed Indian media reports that say Pakistan has been blacklisted by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), which is a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Media reports being circulated within India about Pakistan being blacklisted are “baseless and incorrect”, said a press release issued by the finance ministry.
Indian media outlets have gone into frenzy about the blacklisting issue but none of the reports are supported by reliable sources.
The finance ministry said that during the APG meeting, the group adopted Pakistan’s 3rd Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) while taking the additional step of putting Pakistan in its enhanced follow-up per APG’s Third Round Mutual Evaluation Procedures.
The ministry said that, “After the APG meeting, Pakistan would have to submit follow-up progress reports to the group on quarterly basis.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the APG on Friday said that the group’s annual meeting and technical assistance forum were held recently from August 18 to August 23. At the end of the meeting, the APG members adopted six important mutual evaluation reports for Pakistan, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Philippines and Solomon Islands.
It merits mention here that contrary to the claims being made over the Indian media, the APG statement made no reference to blacklisting Pakistan or any other country for that matter.
The statement further added that detailed discussion over the reports continued for two days and would now be forwarded for review. The final report would be published in October, it added.
Further, the APG said, “The APG has adopted follow-up reports for the group’s members and also for joint APG/FATF members. The meeting also agreed on revised evaluation procedures for next year in light of changing global procedures.”
Moreover, the APG members discussed the matter of terrorism financing and as a result adopted a CFT Operational Plan as part of its global strategy.
The statement further said that, “The participants also agreed on the implementation project that would examine the financing and facilitation of foreign fighters and those returning from a war zone.” In addition, two typology reports were also discussed and adopted by the members.
Earlier on Wednesday, the finance ministry said that the APG meeting on money laundering had adopted Pakistan’s third MER in an effort to strengthen the existing anti-money laundering and countering financing terrorism (AML/CFT) safeguards which covered the period between February and October 2018.
The meeting was attended by a senior delegation from Pakistan under the leadership of State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir.
The finance ministry also said that after adopting the third MER, participants of the APG meeting had identified some areas which required further work to strengthen the AML-CFT framework. The report did not mention those areas where Pakistan has made significant progress since October 2018.
According to a finance ministry official, the APG meeting carried out an assessment of Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime to get a better picture of where Pakistan stood in relation to FATF standards in October 2018. The progress made by Pakistan since October last were not considered during the meeting, the official added.
The ministry said that the recent assessment of Pakistan’s third MER by the APG was not necessarily based on the existing ground realities in Pakistan. The actual report will be issued after the September 5 meeting to be held in Bangkok and the October 18-23 meeting that would be held in Paris. The final assessment would determine whether Islamabad has been successful in delivering on its 27-point action plan to safely exit the FATF grey list.
A delegation from Pakistan has been actively holding bilateral meetings with important APG members to update them about the recent progress made by Pakistan in connection with implementing the FATF action plan.
It is important to mention here that Pakistan has been a member of the APG since 2000, which is a regional body of the Paris-based FATF linked with the United Nations.