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Pak commits to implement FATF action plan

ANI | Updated: Jun 30, 2018 09:03 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 30 (ANI): Pakistan is the ninth country to be placed on the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) "grey list", the other eight being Ethiopia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
According to the Express Tribune, these nine countries have been labeled by the FATF as "jurisdictions (states) with strategic deficiencies" that can harm the international financial system if they do not take immediate steps to stop financing of terrorists and money laundering activities.
The global financial watchdog took the decision despite Islamabad showing progress in a majority of areas identified as threats and also placing before the FATF a 26-point action plan that it will take forward over the next 15 months.
The decision was taken by the FATF Plenary that met in Paris from June 24 to 29 after reviewing the monitoring report of the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG).
The ICRG report reveals that Islamabad has shown progress in three out of the four major areas of concerns:
.Improved supervision of the financial sector
. Asking banks to drop the 'good guy' list
. Commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and address strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies
The only major area where Pakistan has admitted to being deficient is in preventing cross-border smuggling of cash.
Pakistan has told the FATF that it will implement its action plan to accomplish these objectives of properly identifying, assessing and supervising the removal of terrorism financing risks on a risk-sensitive basis.
A sign of relief for Pakistan is that it has not been "black listed"
The Express Tribune further states that the FATF has set specific time frames for each of these nine countries to complete their respective action plans expeditiously. It has also said that it will be closely monitoring the implementation process.
Pakistan has also told the FATF that:
. It will improve inter-agency coordination between provincial and federal authorities to combat terror financing risks.
. It will demonstrate that law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of terrorism financing activity.
. That terrorism financing investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities.
. Identify persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities.
. Demonstrate that terrorism financing prosecutions will result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions
. Enhance capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary.
.Demonstrate enforcement against TFS violations.
. Demonstrate that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.
Since October 2017, Pakistan has frozen 177 additional accounts in the amount of Rs.48.2 million due to indirect linkages and association of customers with the UNSC-listed persons and entities.
As per the plan approved by the FATF, nine targets have to be met in January next year, about 13 by May 2019 and the remaining in September 2019.
The action plan requires Pakistani authorities to proactively cooperate with counterpart bilateral agencies to choke financing to Da'ish, Al Qaida, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, FIF, LeT, JeM, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
The ICRG has argued in its report that "Pakistan did not demonstrate that the financing element was pursued consistently and the difference between terrorism and terrorism financing cases in the provinces raised questions".
It also showed dissatisfaction over the manner the federal and provincial governments provided statistics about the terrorist incidents and terrorism financing cases.
According to the ICRG, Pakistan has not demonstrated that it has an understanding of how many illegal money remitters exist in Pakistan and how many are operating in each region, including higher risk regions where the Haqqani Network and the Taliban are active.
Pakistan admitted that it is impossible to determine the exact number of illegal MVTS operators but it would continue to explore various options to dissuade and prosecute such elements in the system. (ANI)

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