ISLAMABAD, May 17 (AGENCIES): Pakistan’s seriousness to act against proscribed terror outfits and its efforts to curb money laundering and terror financing were questioned by members of a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at a meeting held in China, according to a media report.
A 10-member delegation, led by Finance Secretary Mohammad Younas Dagha, attended the two-day meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) of the Paris-based FATF in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou where it defended Pakistan’s efforts against money laundering and terror financing.
According to a Dawn report, some participants, particularly those from India, raised very tough questions about Pakistan’s seriousness to act against proscribed organisations and effectiveness of internal controls.
On May 3, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India will ask the FATF to put Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards in stopping financial crime.
The APG will submit to the FATF its analysis of the compliance report submitted by Pakistan at the meeting, which concluded yesterday, and the progress made since the group’s on-site inspection in Islamabad and Karachi in March, the report said. The APG report will become the basis for the FATF to decide whether to exclude Pakistan from its grey list or not.
The delegation briefed the meeting about Pakistan’s updated actions against currency smuggling, proscribed organisations and tightening of financial and corporate sector systems and operational effectiveness, the report said.
Giving examples of the measures taken by it, Pakistan cited arrests of key operatives of some proscribed outfits, putting more such groups and their affiliates in the list of banned outfits, blocking their accounts and financial flows and taking control of their assets.
In March, bowing down to international pressure, Pakistan launched a major crackdown on Jaish-e-Mohammad, Jamat-ud-Dawa, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation and other banned outfits and took over the control of their assets throughout the country. The Pakistan delegation said the country was very close to accomplish the milestones set under the FATF action plan well before the September deadline.
It also said the government recently revised its national risk assessment of the corporate sector, strengthened customs procedures on borders and inland movement of funds and assets. Besides, internal control of the banking and non-banking financial institutions, insurance companies and stock exchanges has been strengthened to curb the possibility of money laundering and terror financing.
The delegation cited the creation of a specialised directorate of Cross-Border Currency Movement (CBCM) in Islamabad to maintain a database of currency seizures.
The APG had earlier flashed contradictory situations and poor coordination among stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, in fighting money laundering and terror financing in Pakistan.
Last month, it expressed serious reservations over insufficient physical actions on ground against proscribed organisations to block flow of funds and activities.