Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pakistan submits report on implementation of FATF Action Plan

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Pakistan on Monday submitted detailed answers to 125 questions posed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on moves taken by it to combat money laundering and terror financing in order to move out of the greylist.

The report was submitted by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar who is heading the 15-member delegation to Bangkok for the FATF negotiations, which will continue till September 13.

The Asia Pacific Joint Group of the FATF began its four-day meeting on Monday in Bangkok to review the compliance report of Pakistan, besides other countries.

The Financial Action Task Force Asia Pacific Group has sought answers for 125 questions from Pakistan to take the country out of the Greylist.

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Pakistan’s report would be discussed by the Asia Pacific Joint Group on Tuesday.

Other members of the Pakistani team include officials of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ministries of Finance and Interior, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU).

The outcome of the negotiations with the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering, will decide whether Pakistan continues to feature in the greylist or is put on the Blacklist, during the FATF meeting in Paris on October 16-18.

During the Bangkok negotiations, the FATF will be apprised of measures taken by Pakistan to prevent suspicious transactions and officials will be questioned about moves to restrict illegal activities and freeze the assets of proscribed organisations and groups.

Related: Pakistan seeks international support ahead of FATF Plenary
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On August 30, Hammad said that it is not probable that Pakistan would be included in the FATF blacklist.

He further said that India has tried every scheme against Pakistan but every time it failed without yielding any result. Pakistan is a responsible country and would always keep up with the international community, he said.

We have explicitly told all the participants of Asia-Pacific Group (APG) that Pakistan is working exactly per the requirements of FATF and would accomplish them soon.

“Pakistan will do everything to promote peace in the region and it will be least affected by the propaganda being done by India,” he concluded.

On August 23, the Ministry of Finance rejected Indian media reports stating that Pakistan has been blacklisted by the APG of the FATF.

“Media reports circulating about Pakistan being blacklisted by APG are incorrect and baseless,” a spokesperson from the ministry said.

The APG, in its meeting last week, adopted Pakistan’s third mutual evaluation report.

A statement by the APG read, “during the week, APG members adopted six significant mutual reports. The reports – for China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the Philippines and Solomon Islands – were analysed and discussed in detail over two full days and will now be subject to post-plenary quality and consistency review prior to publication. Final publication on the APG website is expected in early October 2019.”

A press release by Finance Ministry stated that the money laundering watchdog adopted Pakistan’s third mutual evaluation report which covered the period from February to October 2018 and identified a number of areas where further actions were required to strengthen the AML/CFT framework.

Related: Pakistan struggles to combat money laundering

However, the report did not cover areas in which the Pakistani government made substantial progress since October 2018.

The Pakistan delegation to the meeting was headed by SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir. During the discussion, the delegation welcomed engagement with the international community in its efforts to counter terrorism and money laundering.

The delegation briefed APG members on the steps taken in recent times for improving its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism framework as well as the actions for ensuring effective implementation of the FATF Action Plan.

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The Pakistan delegation also held a number of bilateral meetings with key delegations to brief them on recent progress by Pakistan in implementing the FATF Action Plan.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan is a member of the APG since 2000. APG is a regional body of FATF and requires its members to undergo mutual evaluation on the compliance of its AML/CFT framework with FATF recommendations.

During the meetings, the financial monitoring unit (FMU) also signed an MoU with China’s Anti Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Centre on the exchange of financial intelligence.

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