Cross walk to FATF

Although Financial Action Task force, in its recent meeting, expressed relative satisfaction over the measures taken for curbing money laundering and terror financing yet the international watchdog is not satisfied with the actions taken against the banned outfits.  The global body has expressed reservations about the risk profiling of proscribed organization and has emhasised speedy and strict implementation of 27 points action plan if Pakistan really wants to get out of the grey-list of countries having weak ant-money laundering and counter terror financing laws.

The policy of appeasement and soft corner shown by the mainstream political parties to certain organization, garnering their electoral support in the 2018 polls and previous general election and administrative actions to facilitate the entry of elements placed in the fourth schedule certainly cast doubt about the determination of the incumbent government about the total compliance of FATF plan to tackle the twin menace of money laundering and terror financing. National Action Plan (NAP) has not been implemented in totality and few points have been implemented over the past four years. Opposition parties seem reluctant to support the government in legislation for extending the tenure of military courts. The most important points of NAP that pertains to strict action against militant groups; strengthening the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA); chocking  all sources of financing of militant outfits; curbing reemergence of proscribed organizations under new nomenclatures after their banning; and revamping and reforming the criminal justice system.

The PTI government may be serious about implementing the FATF plan to strengthen the anti-money laundering and counter terror financing laws but it has a razor thin majority in the National assembly and has few members in the Senate. The leaderships of main opposition party PML-N and the second largest opposition party PPP are suffering from corruption and money laundering syndrome. They are facing enquiries of NAB. The arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Afgha  Siraj Durrani by NAB on the charges of possessing assets beyond mean, acquisition of interim bail facility by  a few PPP provincial minsters and the ongoing probe against the former President Asif Zardari in fake bank accounts case make the chances of passing the requisite legislations from the parliament.

The indulgence of political elite in money laundering and lack of strict action against the proscribed organizations has damaged the image of Pakistan in the international community. The provisions of UN Security Council Resolution numbering 1267 and 1373 are binding on all members countries of the United Nations and the leadership of all political parties should realize the implications of the provisions of these resolutions. There is no escape route except the passage and implementation laws to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for curbing the menace of money laundering and terror financing to convince the FATF to remove Pakistan from the grey-list.