PM showers Gen Bajwa with praise over FATF achievement

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Saturday congratulated Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa after Pakistan completed the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) action plans.

The anti-money laundering watchdog announced Friday that Pakistan has “substantially completed its two action plans” — of the total 34 items on the list — and would be removed from the grey list after it passes the on-site visit.

During a telephonic conversation, the prime minister appreciated the “core cell” established in the General Headquarters (GHQ) for its efforts in the completion of the anti-money laundering watchdog’s item list.

“I applaud the civil and military leadership that worked with the core cell,” the prime minister said.

In its statement released after the four-day plenary in Berlin, the watchdog acknowledged that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future.

The army chief, a day earlier, had termed the FATF’s announcement a “great achievement” for Pakistan.

“Completion of FATF AML/CFT (anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism) action plans by Pakistan is a great achievement,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement, quoting the army chief.

PM also congratulates FM Bilawal, Miftah Ismail 

Meanwhile, in separate telephonic conversations, the prime minister also appreciated Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail for their efforts in this regard.

Shehbaz Sharif said that the return of Pakistan to the whitelist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a big success. He also felicitated the nation and welcomed the announcement of the FATF that Pakistan had met all its conditions for exclusion from the grey list.

In a statement issued here, the premier said, “Praise be to Allah, return of Pakistan to the whitelist is a big success of Pakistan.”

He congratulated the government institutions, personalities and relevant team and said their joint efforts brought fruit, the state news agency reported Friday.

He appreciated the performance of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and the team of the Foreign Ministry.

The PM said the efforts of the basic cell related to FATF and of military and civil leadership included in it, were praiseworthy and credit went to them for their work in this national endeavour.

“I pay tribute to the whole team working for the success of Pakistan,” he said adding the statement of FATF was a recognition of the restoration of the international reputation of Pakistan.

“More such good news will be the destiny of Pakistan in future,” he said adding the return of Pakistan to the white list would help in improving the economic and financial situation of Pakistan.

“We are working with the same determination for the economic revival of Pakistan,” he concluded.

FATF ACKNOWLEDGES PAKISTAN

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has acknowledged that Pakistan has “substantially completed its two action plans”, saying that the watchdog will now schedule an on-site visit to verify the implementation of the measures.

However, Pakistan has not been formally removed from the FATF’s grey list. In a statement, the watchdog acknowledged that Pakistan has completed both its action plans, covering 34 items and said this showed the necessary political commitment was in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future.

“The FATF will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date to verify the implementation and sustainability of the country’s money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures,” it added.

The FATF also acknowledged Pakistan continued political commitment to combating both terrorist financing and money laundering, which it said had led to significant progress.

“Pakistan demonstrated that terror financing investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upwards trend in the number of money laundering investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan, in line with Pakistan’s risk profile,” it added.

The financial watchdog noted that Pakistan has also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times.

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