FATF challenge and National Action Plan

Written by The Frontier Post

According to the media, Commissioner Peshawar Division, Riaz Khan Mehsud has directed all the deputy commissioners to implement the directives given by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Committee to prevent illegal money transactions and eradicate money laundering in the province. As per details, Deputy Commissioner issued these directives while chairing a meeting regarding the implementation of FATF’s action plan and Terror Financing which was attended by all deputy commissioners of the division, Tax collectors of Custom and FBR, concerned Ministries and departments of the province. According to reports, the meeting reviewed all the steps taken by the authorities to prevent money laundering and terror financing, while the participants were briefed about the implementation of the FATF’s policy besides the eradication of illegal sale and purchase of properties. It was decided that the divisional government should fulfill all its responsibilities as early as the next FATF’s meeting or visit of the FATF technical team to Pakistan for which the commissioner has prepared a comprehensive plan that was in its final phase.

Pakistan’s troubled journey at FATF started in June 2018, when the Paris-based Global Financial and Money laundering watchdog placed the country on its grey list due to alleged weak Financial regime, legal and administrative loopholes in the Country’s anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing regimes. The government of Pakistan accepted the challenge and agreed to work with the global body and its subsidiary Asia Pacific Group (APG) to strengthen its Anti-,money Laundering and Combating Financial Terror (AML/CFT) regimes to improve its strategic Counter-Terrorist Financing mechanisms.

The government of Pakistan established a national FATF Committee consisting of representatives from all relevant ministries and departments including the Ministry of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, and law along with senior officials from Security and Intelligence agencies. The Committee put forward the agenda items handed over by the FATF Secretariat in Paris and kicked off the mountainous work of conversion of country’s banking, legal and administrative laws and procedures according to international standards and mostly rewritten the fiscal polices, digital banking, and terrorism prosecution laws and procedures over the past four years.

During the recent FATF Plenary in Bonn Germany, the forum acknowledged Pakistan’s achievements regarding both FATF’s action plans (2018 and 2021) and expressed its willingness to move in the direction of Pakistan’s removal from the grey list, however, the process had been linked with the FATF’s technical experts visit to Pakistan in October to verify the on-ground implementation of the FATF Action Plans in the country. Currently, government institutions are in the process of revalidating the complete assimilation of these global standards in national, Provincial, District, and Municipal level administrations so the cent percent implementation at all levels.

Presently, Pakistan is at a very crucial stage, because our enemies intend to push the country toward FATF black listing or at least want to prolong Pakistan’s stay on the grey list. The enemies are in an effort to malign Pakistan at this front through their proxies in the country. Therefore, government institutions should remain on guard and implement the latest laws relating to our banking and court systems, as well as revenue and local governance in true letter and spirit along with gradual syncronization of the regimes with the evolving global standards. So, Pakistan not only successfully passes through this challenge but our global standing improves over the time.

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The Frontier Post