Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said it will fully cooperate with the FATF and implement its new action plan within 12 months, after the global body against money laundering and terror financing retained the country on its ‘grey list’.Also Read - Severed Head Of Newborn Left Inside Mother's Womb During Surgery in Pakistan's Sindh

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ for failing to check money laundering, leading to terror financing, and asked Islamabad to investigate and prosecute senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups, including Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar. Also Read - What Is Amyloidosis, The Health Condition That Former Pak President Pervez Musharraf Suffers From | Explained

It also asked Pakistan to work to address its strategically-important deficiencies. Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said that FATF has given a new plan to implement it within 12 months to fix some issues related to money laundering. Also Read - Pervez Musharraf's Recovery Not Possible, Organs Malfunctioning: Family  

The previous action plan was for counter-terrorism and the new one is for anti-money laundering, Azhar said. Azhar, who was addressing the media shortly after the FATF decision, said that the anti-money laundering plan will be much easier to tackle than the counter-terrorism one.

The minister said that the government would implement the points mentioned in the anti-money laundering plan “in the next 12 months”. Addressing a virtual press conference, FATF President Marcus Pleyer said the Pakistan government has failed to check the risk of money laundering, leading to corruption and terror financing.

Pakistan will continue to remain on “increased monitoring list”, the FATF president said. “Increased monitoring list” is also known as the ‘grey list’.

“The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT)-related item by demonstrating that Terror Financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups,” an FATF statement said.

The UN designated terrorists based in Pakistan include Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed and its ‘operational commander’ Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

Noting that Pakistan has now completed 26 of the 27 action items given to it in 2018, Pleyer said the FATF has asked Pakistan to take action against UN designated terrorists.

FATF acknowledged that Pakistan implemented 26 out of 27 points. One point is left and we will complete that as well. There is no threat of blacklisting; Pakistan will not be blacklisted, it will be whitelisted, Azhar said.

Pakistan has not been moved out of the grey list but Pakistan’s progress was noted globally… Pakistan has implemented the most difficult FATF action plan, the minister said.

The last point will be implemented by the next plenary which will be held in October, he said.

Separately, the Finance Ministry in a statement said that the FATF recognised considerable progress made by Pakistan on its action plan given in 2018.

On Technical Compliance, FATF appreciated Pakistan’s commitment and efforts in seeking upgrades in a number of recommendations and expected that Pakistan would continue the same momentum, it said.

Earlier this week, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that given the progress made by the country, the FATF had no justification to keep the country on its grey list.

“We had been given 27 points in the FATF Action Plan, out of which work on 26 has been completed,” Qureshi said, adding that work was afoot to address the remaining item.

Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.