ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), arrived in Islamabad on Monday for talks and to evaluate measures taken by the country to curb terrorism financing and money laundering.
The visiting assessment team comprises Ian Collins of New Scotland Yard, James Prussing of Department of the Treasury United States, Ashraf Abdulla of Financial Intelligence Unit Maldives, Boby Wahyu Hernawan of Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance, Gong Jingyan of People’s Bank of China; Mustafa Necmeddin of Turkey’s Ministry of Justice, Deputy Director Muhammad Al-Rashdan and Deputy Director;Shannon Rutherford.
Finance Division Spokesperson Khaqan Hassan Najeeb informed media that the talks will start on Tuesday and will end on Thursday. He further said that the APG delegation would hold meetings with officials from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Interior, National Counter Terrorism Authority, law enforcement agencies and counter-terrorism departments to discuss Pakistan’s performance. If Pakistan fails to satisfy the FATF delegation to remove its name from the “grey list”, then a new plan of action can be given to the country.
Pakistan has taken certain steps since the February 18-22 meetings with FATF functionaries to comply with latest instructions to meet various deadlines in order to avoid being included in a blacklist. It declared as “high risk” all the eight entities and related elements specifically named by FATF as threats to the global financial system. Reportedly, India had taken an aggressive stance against Pakistan in the FATF and Islamabad had repeatedly called for the removal of Indian vice president from the APG.
Achieving 27 targets under a 10-point action plan has now become a top priority for the government. As the FATF meetings were still in progress in February, the government had announced a ban on Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FiF) to partially address the concerns raised by India that Pakistan supported these and six similar organisations, including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), or at least considered them low-risk entities, and then declared them “high risk” ones.
Under the high-risk category the government is required to start monitoring and re-examining the groups’ activities and profiles under heightened security checks at all layers of legal, administrative, investigative and financial regimes. All these entities are now subject to greater scrutiny by all agencies and institutions of the state regarding their activities starting from registration to operations and from fund collection to bank accounts and issuance of transactions.
In June 2018, Pakistan made a commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and to address its terrorism financing-related deficiencies by implementing an action plan to accomplish these objectives.
The Paris-based FATF had placed Pakistan on a money laundering “grey list” but had given it time to take action before a further downgrade.