BEIJING: The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Working Group has expressed satisfaction while reviewing Pakistan’s performance report from October 2019 till January 2020 in compliance with the global illicit financing watchdog’s action plan carrying 27 recommendations about the country’s anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) mechanism.
The Pakistani delegation led by the Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar presented the report in a meeting with the Working Group in Beijing, and explained measures taken and progress made by the country in stopping funding of terrorists and eradication of money laundering since October last year.
The delegation apprised the group about the implementation of 22 of the FATF’s recommendations in particular, and that a ban has been imposed on terrorist organisations together with amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act in the light of those recommendations. The FATF’s group was informed that penalties and sentences have been increased in the amendments.
Pakistan will be judged by an FATF plenary meeting in February on the basis of the Joint Group’s report for a possible exit from the ‘grey list’ or at least avoiding an entry into the black list.
The group also reviewed answers given by Pakistan in a 650-page report to the global financial watchdog, and it will be considered by the body’s meeting starting from Feb. 16 in Paris.
The FATF had demanded Pakistan to convict those terrorists who had been associated with the banned outfits and also summoned copies of cases lodged against the banned organisations.
Details were also sought about legal steps taken concerning religious seminaries, action against money laundering, and transfer of funds, assets and jewelry in the name of terrorists.
Pakistan had forwarded all required particulars to the FATF while noting that investigations into 700 cases concerning transfer of funds to militants were ongoing.
The FATF had noted that since June 2018, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, “Pakistan has made progress towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including the recent development of its ML/TF risk assessment.”