ISLAMABAD: A global watchdog on Thursday announced its decision to keep Pakistan "under increased monitoring" over inadequate terror funding controls after a three-day virtual plenary, giving the South Asian nation until June to fulfill all conditions so it could be removed from a grey list.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
In 2018, FATF placed Pakistan on its "grey list" of countries with inadequate controls over terror financing and gave it a 27-step action plan to implement, which includes passing new legislation.
"The FATF recognizes that Pakistan has made significant progress to improve its anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing framework," FATF president Marcus Pleyer said. "However, some serious deficiencies remain. All of these deficiencies are in areas that relate to terrorist financing."
Pleyer noted that "out of 27 items on its action plan, three still need to be fully addressed."
"I again recognize the progress that Pakistan has made, but I strongly urge the completion of the action plan," he added.
Reacting to the development, Pakistan's finance ministry said in a statement it had "undertaken enormous work" to strengthen its financial framework and address the deficiencies related to strategic counterterrorism financing.
"The FATF has also acknowledged the continued high-level political commitment of Pakistan to combat terrorist financing which, according to FATF statement, has led to significant progress across a comprehensive countering financing of terrorism plan," the statement added.
It noted that the country had "made notable progress in the remaining 3 action items" which were now "partially addressed."
Pakistan's Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar noted in a Twitter post that FATF member states had acknowledged his country was "subject to perhaps the most challenging & comprehensive action plan" ever given to any state. He reiterated Islamabad's commitment to comply with the FATF evaluation process and do everything to bring Pakistan's financial system in line with global standards.