FATF gives Pakistan 10-point action plan to counter terror financing


LAHORE: After grey-listing Pakistan due to its ‘terror-financing deficiencies’, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday gave a 10-point action plan, welcoming the high-level political commitment conveyed by the country.

After Plenary Meetings held in OECD, Paris, from June 24-29, 2018, to discuss the issues relating to security and integrity of the global financial system, FATF said it has “identified Pakistan as a jurisdiction with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies”. The body has recommended an action plan to address the issues regarding anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing.

The action plan includes:

(1) Demonstrating that TF risks are properly identified, assessed, and that supervision is applied on a risk-sensitive basis

(2) Demonstrating that remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions

(3) Demonstrating that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS)

(4) Demonstrating that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for TF

(5) Improving inter-agency coordination including between provincial and federal authorities on combating TF risks

(6) Demonstrating that law enforcement agencies (leas) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities

(7) Demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and enhancing the capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary

(8) Demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services

(9) Demonstrating enforcement against TFS violations including administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases

(10) Demonstrating that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources

The Pakistani delegation was led by caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar along with officials from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Bank of Pakistan and Financial Monitoring Unit. On the sidelines of FATF and ICRG meetings, the Pakistani delegation held bilateral meetings with several FATF members to ensure their support for Pakistan in the FATF process. FATF members were informed that the government already sent its commitment letter to the FATF President on the Policy Action Plan on June 22, 2018.

A special intervention to FATF/ICRG was made by Dr Akhtar where she emphasised that Pakistan was steadfast in upgrading the AML/CFT standards and ensuring their enforcement. She reiterated Pakistan’s strong resolve to strengthen its counter measures against terrorism and terrorism financing, and to implement the action plan by adopting a “whole-of-government” approach.

“This opportunity was instrumental in ensuring Pakistan’s commitment to the world for compliance of international standards and increasing effectiveness of regulatory and enforcement regimes for its own benefit,” she said.

In a statement issued by the finance ministry, the government said, “The FATF/ICRG group supported Pakistan’s proposition on keeping the timeframe realistic for implementation of policy actions.”

“Further to the decision already made at the FATF Plenary held in February 2018, the FATF Plenary of June 2018 approved the Action Plan for Pakistan and placed Pakistan on its Public Statement in the Ongoing Compliance section.”

“Moving forward, the Government of Pakistan is putting in place a strategy to implement the Action Plan in the next 15 months. Given the complexity and size of the action plan, the Minister for Finance has established a high-powered, inclusive and robust institutional coordination and monitoring mechanism to ensure that the Action Plan is implemented within time and the country is brought out of FATF’s Public Statement the soonest,” it added.

The meetings were attended by delegates from several countries as well as the UN, IMF, World Bank and other multilateral institutions.