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Pakistan says one step away from being taken off illicit financing watchlist

Financial Action Task Force will visit Islamabad to verify measures against terror financing and money laundering

Staff Reporter

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Pakistan is one step away from exiting a dirty money “grey list” after the global financial crime watchdog said an on-site visit could lead to the South Asian nation’s removal, a minister said on Saturday.

The Financial Action Task Force kept Pakistan on the list at its meeting in Berlin on Friday but said a visit to verify progress on countering financing of terrorism and money laundering could lead to its removal from countries under increased monitoring.

The watchdog, set up by the Group of Seven industrial powers to protect the global financial system, said Islamabad had substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, as it seeks to be taken off the list where it has been since 2018.

“Pakistan is one step away from exiting the grey list,” Hina Rabbani Khar, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told a news conference in Islamabad after returning from the FATF meeting.

She said the country was confident of getting off the list, which would help build confidence in its economic framework.

“We have not only met the timeline, we have outperformed,” Ms Khar said.

“I’m very confident that if we remain on the same trajectory, we will get out of it, and will never return on this path again.”

Leaving the grey list could increase foreign inflows to Pakistan, specifically portfolio and direct investment, said Saad Hashemy, executive director at BMA Capital Securities.

The FATF said an on-site visit was warranted to verify that reforms had begun and were being sustained, as well as that the necessary political commitment remained in place.

Ms Khar said the FATF would inspect all the measures and legislation Pakistan has introduced on money laundering and terrorism financing.

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