ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday constituted a separate unit to ensure effective and timely completion of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) action plan.
According to a notification, the newly established unit will work under the counterterrorism wing of the FIA. “The FATF compliance unit will serve as the focal point for all activities related to the FATF action plan,” read the notification.
The FIA transferred 11 officers to the compliance unit with immediate effect. According to the notification, the unit was empowered to seek information, officers and record of meetings from different zones.
Islamabad has been on the global money laundering watchdog’s radar since June 2018, when it was placed on a grey list for terrorist financing and money laundering risks after an assessment of the country’s financial system and security mechanism.
Islamabad requires at least 15 out of 36 votes to move out of the watchdog’s grey list, which is causing an estimated loss of $10 billion per year. Last month, Islamabad had thwarted a move to place the country on the FATF’s blacklist.
Earlier in June, Islamabad, at a meeting in Guangzhou, China, was reportedly asked to “do more” as its compliance on 18 of the 27 indicators — pointed out in the action plan — was unsatisfactory.
Pakistan, in recent months, has taken some major steps in accordance with the action plan, which includes, no foreign currency transactions without a national tax number, and ban on currency change of up to $500 in the open currency market without submission of a national identity card copy.
In addition to that, Islamabad has also proscribed several militant groups and seized their assets, including Jamat-ud-Dawa’h, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) the groups blamed for several terrorist attacks such as the 2009 deadly Mumbai attacks killing over 150 people.
Pakistan had faced a similar situation in 2011 when it was included in the grey list and was taken out only in 2015 after it successfully implemented an action plan.