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Hina Rabbani Khar Has Arrived In Paris For The FATF Plenary Conference

Hina Rabbani Khar, state minister for foreign affairs, travelled to Paris to attend a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

On Monday, the minister led a Pakistani group to Paris, where they met with Jean-Louis Bourlanges, chair of the French National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee.

The conference examined regional and global concerns, parliamentary cooperation, floods in Pakistan, climate change, and Pakistan-France ties.

At the Pakistani Embassy in Paris, Khar also met with a group of French academics, think tank participants, and intellectuals.

The Paris-based global watchdog on dirty money stated that the inaugural FATF Plenary will be held on October 20-21, 2022, during Singapore’s two-year presidency of T Raja Kumar.

Representatives from 206 Global Network members and observer organisations will attend the Working Group and Plenary sessions in Paris, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, Interpol, and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.

The plenary’s choices would be made public at the end of the two days of debate. The plenary will focus on states recognised as posing a danger to the global financial system, as well as other critical challenges. This includes revisions to public statements identifying jurisdictions as high risk or subject to greater surveillance, as well as recommendations on how to increase beneficial ownership transparency to prevent the use of shell firms and other opaque structures to launder illegal assets.

Pakistan was added to the increased monitoring list in June 2018 due to deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigations, prosecution, judicial, and non-governmental sectors to combat money laundering and terror financing, both of which pose serious threats to the global financial system.

Islamabad made high-level political promises to rectify these inadequacies in a 27-point action plan. However, 34 action points were eventually added. Since then, the country has worked aggressively with FATF and its affiliates to strengthen its legal and financial systems against money laundering and terrorism financing in order to meet global standards and the FATF’s 40 recommendations.

A 15-member joint team from the FATF and its regional affiliate Asia Pacific Group in Sydney visited Pakistan from August 29 to September 2 to review whether the country was complying to the 34-point action plan it agreed to with the FATF.

The authorities that had kept the group’s travel to the country secret afterwards described it as “a seamless and successful tour.” The delegation conducted extensive conversations with relevant agencies in accordance with the FATF Plenary’s authorization of an on-site visit in June 2022.

According to the Foreign Office, the purpose of the visit was to confirm the high degree of commitment and durability of AML/CFT regime reforms in Pakistan on the ground, and [it] hoped for a logical conclusion to the review process. The FATF International Cooperation Review Group and plenary meetings will go over the FATF Onsite team’s report.

Pakistan said that after four years of hard work, it had not only achieved a high level of technical compliance with FATF standards, but also assured a high degree of efficacy by putting two major FATF action plans into operation.

In June of this year, Pakistan was deemed to be “compliant or mainly compliant” with FATF regulations on all 34 points. FATF subsequently opted to send an onsite team to Pakistan to confirm this on the ground before formally declaring Pakistan’s removal from the grey list, which occurred in August and September of this year.

In terms of technical adherence to FATF regulations, Pakistan was rated “compliant or mainly compliant” by APG in 38 of 40 FATF recommendations in August of this year, putting it among the top-performing nations globally.

The FATF/APG action plan for the efficacy of AML/CFT was completed in June, a little after the IMF’s structural objective of the end of March 2022. The administration promised to “meet the timelines for the implementation of the APG’s 2021 Action Plan, including on the framework for mutual legal assistance, AML/CFT supervision, transparency of beneficial ownership information, and compliance with targeted financial sanctions for pr” and to “review by end-June 2022 the implementation of AML/CFT controls by financial institutions in relation to the tax amnesty programme for the construction sector.”

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