ISLAMABAD: Foreign Min­ister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said ‘some forces’ were trying to maintain pressure on Pakistan by keeping it on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“Some forces want to keep the (FATF) sword hanging on Pakistan,” Mr Qureshi said in a statement on the global illicit financing watchdog’s decision to keep the country on the list of countries that are on increased monitoring — more commonly called the grey list.

Mr Qureshi did not name the “forces” maintaining pressure on Pakistan through the US- and EU-dominated FATF.

Questions if FATF is a technical forum or a political one

FATF had at its five-day plenary that concluded on June 25 reviewed the progress made by Pakistan and decided that it would remain on the grey list. Pakistan has already undertaken 26 of the 27 actions agreed with the FATF under the 2018 action plan.

Pakistan has been on the grey list for three years.

For getting off the list Pakistan would not only have to complete action on the outstanding point related to terror financing investigations and prosecution of individuals linked to UN-designated terrorist groups, but would also have to implement a separate six-point action plan given by the Asia Pacific Group (APG), a regional affiliate of the FATF.

Mr Qureshi said there was no further justification for keeping Pakistan on FATF after completing 26 of the 27 action points and making substantive progress on the 27th point as well. There is also a commitment to make further progress on the 27th point, he added.

The foreign minister said it was in Pakistan’s interest that no money laundering takes place and terror financing is curbed. Therefore, the government would continue to do what is in the national interest. Referring to the FATF’s decision on Pakistan, he asked if the FATF was a technical forum or a political one.

“We have to see that this forum is not being used for political purposes. As far as technical aspects are concerned, we were given 27 points and they have themselves admitted that we have fully implemented 26 out of 27 points,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2021

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