Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Saturday stated that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will conduct an onsite visit to Pakistan to validate technical commitments as the country is “one step away” from exiting the grey list.
Addressing a press conference, the minister stated that the visit is a procedural requirement which will result in the removal of Pakistan from the watchdog’s notorious grey list, “hopefully forever”.
Khar added that the state was working closely with the body to arrange the visit at a mutually convenient time and aims to complete the task before the October 2022 preliminaries.
The minister also highlighted that Pakistan’s commitment to strengthened financial regulation is a matter of national consensus, with the strategic objective to strengthen the economy and restore confidence.
The minister also acknowledged the “tireless” efforts of the teams who “burnt the midnight oil” to ensure the FATF action plans of 2018 and 2022 were completed.
“This has been a cross government effort,” she stated adding that the success was an effort of the state of Pakistan and not a singular entity.
She expressed hope that Pakistan would be in a position to sustain its trajectory of reforms and “provide guidance and technical support to other countries in the region as we are ahead of the curve.”
Khar also stated that Pakistan would be “fully prepared” for the on-site visit. She urged the media, that due to confidentiality requirements of the regulatory body, to not prematurely share the news. “this has harmed our position in the past, we can never prejudge a situation,” she added.
Maintaining the government’s position, Khar stated that while Pakistan was the only country to have two action plans to tackle finical regulation, it was “too early to celebrate”.
In response to a question regarding FATF’s political bias, the minister stated that Pakistan can be positive about its journey and said “we have been enabled to be and seen as responsible and we have always emphasized that FATF should remain apolitical and technical. We hope that will continue”.
When asked a question regarding international interference in the process, Khar refrain from answering the question stating, “we have emphasized that body is apolitical but there is a certain country that has made it difficult in the past”.
The minister further added that Pakistan’s success was incumbent on its national agenda to tackle terror financing. “Our national and international agenda is aligned, we have learned many lessons and never want to slip,” she said.
When asked how “friendly ties” helped with Pakistan’s FATF position, the minister stated that diplomatic outreach was always a strategy. However, Khar emphasized that Pakistan had “honoured its commitments” and “over-performed” and therefore, deserved assistance from countries.