Islamabad reiterates its commitment to ensure completion of FATF action plan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reiterated its commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure completion of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan in a timely manner.

Ministry of Finance issued a press release after the meeting of FATF in Orlando, “The meeting reviewed the compliance of a number of countries, including Pakistan with the international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT).”

“Pakistan was placed by FATF in its Compliance Document in view of an Action Plan agreed with Pakistan in June 2018 to strengthen its AML/CFT Regime. FATF reviewed progress made by Pakistan towards the implementation of the Action Plan. It acknowledged the steps taken by Pakistan to improve its AML/CFT regime and highlighted the need for further actions for implementing the Action Plan,” the statement further said.

“The Government of Pakistan reiterates its commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure completion of the Action Plan in a timely manner,” it added.

The global money laundering watchdog has given Pakistan until October to improve its counter-terror financing operations in line with an internationally agreed action plan or face actions against it.

In its statement, the FATF suggested at least ten points for Pakistan to “continue working on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies”.

It noted that Pakistan had to complete its steps for the Assigned Action Plan by January 2019 but it failed to do so even by May 2019. Islamabad, the statement added, was urged to swiftly complete the promised action plan by October 2019, which is when the last set of action plan items are set to expire.

October 2019 is also when the FATF would decide on the next in case of “insufficient progress”.

The FATF underscored that Pakistan had made high-level political commitments in June 2018, when it had assured to improve anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and to tackle strategic deficiencies.

The 10 new points, on the other hand, suggested for Pakistan to address its strategic deficiencies include taking adequate action to combat terror-financing, increasing the supervision of cases on a risk-sensitive basis, strengthening the supervision of illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS), improving the coordination on provincial and federal levels.

The new points also summarily suggest to Pakistan to assure that its law enforcement agencies (LEAs) identify cash couriers and their related risk for terror-financing and identify, investigate, and target designated persons and entities and those acting on behalf of the said designated persons and entities.

Also included among the suggestions are enhancing the capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary, making sure the prosecutions result in effective sanctions, the identification and freezing of assets and prohibiting access to funds to 1,267 banned organisations and 1,373 designated terrorists, and seizing designated terrorists’ movable and immovable assets.