Pakistan esteblishes mechanism to implement FATF Action Plan in the next 15 months

Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: After placing in the Grey list by FATF, the government of Pakistan is putting in place a strategy to implement the promised Action Plan in the next 15 months.

The Finance Minister also briefed the Caretaker Cabinet meeting held today under the chair of Caretaker Prime Minister  Justice (R) Nasir-ul-Mulk, about the deliberations during the recently held meeting of Financial Action Task Force in Paris.

The decision was 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.

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.

The Action Plan – which Pakistan committed to – requires Pakistani authorities to proactively cooperate with counterpart bilateral agencies to choke financing to Da’ish, Al Qaeda, and the Haqqani Network, as well as India-oriented terror groups Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its affiliates Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

As per Plan, Pakistan must give special focus to curb cash smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and misuse of non-profit organisations, particularly funding of all these terrorist groups.

Pakistan also will have to deliver on the first goal by January next year and complete all the 26 actions by September 2019.

By May, Pakistan will have to show that terrorism financing prosecutions successfully result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions against natural and legal persons convicted of terrorism financing offences. And by September 2019, Pakistan will address the key concern of identifying and investigating the widest range of terrorism financing activities like the collection, movement or use of funds.

Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar reiterated the government’s strong resolve to strengthen  measures against terrorism and terrorism financing, and to implement the Action Plan by adopting a “whole-of-government” approach during FATF Plenary meetings held in OECD, Paris, from June 24 to 29, 2018, to discuss issues relating to security and integrity of the global financial systems.

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.

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

Pakistan delegation was led by Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar along with officials from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Bank of Pakistan and Financial Monitoring Unit, said a press release issued here Friday.

On the sidelines of FATF and ICRG meetings, the Pakistani delegation held bi-lateral meetings with several FATF members to ensure their support for Pakistan in the FATF process. FATF members were informed that the government of Pakistan already sent its commitment letter to the FATF President on the Policy Action Plan on 22 June 2018.

A special intervention to FATF/ICRG was made by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

She emphasized that Pakistan was steadfast in upgrading the AML/CFT standards and ensuring their enforcement.
Extensive preparation in consultations with all the concerned authorities and initiating some actions prior to the Paris meetings was helpful in strengthening Pakistan’s case.

The FATF/ICRG group supported Pakistan’s proposition on keeping the timeframe realistic for implementation of policy actions.

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