–China, Turkey, Saudia did not oppose US motion to add Pakistan in list of countries suspected of terror financing and money laundering
–Pakistan will now have to implement 26-point action plan by Sept 2019 to avoid being put on blacklist of financial watchdog
–FO spokesman says Pakistan could face problems if anti-terror financing and money laundering is not curbed
ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided to re-put Pakistan on its grey list following a meeting in Paris on Wednesday, as Pakistan’s Foreign Office warned that the country could face ‘problems’ if it fails to ensure the implementation of its 26-point action plan against terror financing and money laundering by Sept 2019.
The US motion, to have Pakistan added to the “grey list” of countries, was backed by Britain, France, Germany. Pakistan’s closest allies — China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia did not oppose the move.
Presenting Pakistan’s case at the FATF talks, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the interim minister of finance and planning, apprised the global watchdog of the steps the country has taken to stem money laundering and terror financing, and put up a robust case for not placing its name on the grey list.
The Pakistani delegation also spoke about Islamabad’s efforts against the banned outfits and various terrorist groups. It said that the nation was working to curb financial assistance to terrorists, made existing laws better, and ensured improved implementation of the current regulations.
In compliance with the FATF’s recommendations, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), on June 20, issued the Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2018. Prior to that, on June 8, the National Security Committee (NSC) had reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with FATF and strive towards realising “shared objectives”.
However, the FATF members remained unsatisfied with Pakistan’s efforts.
Pakistan must now follow a 26-point action plan spanning a period of 15 months to avoid being blacklisted by the FATF.
The plan, prepared by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of Asia Pacific Group (APG), makes it mandatory on Pakistan to deliver on the first goal by January next year and complete all the 26 actions by September 2019.
In February 2018, the FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List.
The ICRG of the APG identified four key areas of concerns, including deficiencies in the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing regimes, cross-border illicit movement of currency by terrorist groups, progress on terrorism financing investigation and prosecution and implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373, for curbing terror financing.
It was further reported that the number of conditions taken into account are the concerns of the UNSC resolutions.
This was followed by eight commitments to address the issues regarding terrorism financing prosecution, four about curbing currency movement across the border and five recommendations related to improvement in the supervision mechanisms of banks and companies.
‘PAKISTAN MUST ENSURE COMPLIANCE’:
Addressing the weekly briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FO Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said, “We will have to ensure the implementation of the action plan shared with FATF while we are on the grey list.”
“If adequate measures are taken, we can be removed from the grey list,” he emphasised, while warning that the country will be “facing problems” if action is not taken.
Faisal reminded reporters that the country was made aware of this development before its happening.
“We were told in February that we will be placed on the grey list,” he said.
The FO spokesman said that Pakistan supports the Afghan peace process and will support all efforts for reconciliation led by the Afghan leadership.
Dr Faisal asserted, “Afghan Taliban should accept the ceasefire offer.” “All relevant parties should come to the table,” he urged.