Pakistan not in danger of falling in FATF blacklist: Hammad

Pakistan not in danger of falling in FATF blacklist: Hammad

ISLAMABAD, Jun 25 (APP): Minister for Power Division Hammad Azhar on Friday said that Pakistan is not in danger of falling back to the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Addressing press conference along with Director General FATF Secretariat Khawaja Adnan Zaheer, DG Counter Terrorism minister of foreign affairs Asim Ali Khan, and the DG National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), the minister said that Pakistan would not face any sanctions for being in the gray list.

Although the FATF has announced that Pakistan would continue to remain in gray list but Pakistan has already completed 26 out of the 27 Action Plan items, said Hammad adding that compliance of last item would also be ensured before the next session of FATF scheduled in October 2021.

He said the FATF, after discussion, decided to maintain the status quo for Pakistan and increased monitoring for 2018 TF Action Plan for remaining one item.

He said FATF has also given a new 7-point action plan. The new action plan is focused on countering money laundering, which was relatively easy than the terror financing. “We have set a target to meet this in 12 months,” he said.

He said world community and the FATF recognized the considerable progress made by Pakistan on action plan and Pakistan’s high-level commitment.

He said there were 82 agenda items on the action plan, Pakistan received in 2018, which was on controlling terror financing. “We have completed 75 of these conditions, he added.

He said considering the plan was very difficult, Pakistan was the only country that have worked at this pace.

He pointed out that the Parliament passed 17 laws against terror financing and money laundering in 2020.

Besides the legislation, many rules and regulations were also formed and multiple compliance efforts were made, he said.

He credited the progress to FBR officials, security officials, ministries of foreign affairs, and finance, courts, prosecution, and police.

Earlier in the day, announcing the decision in a virtual press conference after the financial watchdog’s five-day plenary meeting, FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said 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’s continued political commitment has led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan.

“The FATF recognizes Pakistan’s progress and efforts to address these CFT action plan items and notes that since February 2021, Pakistan has made progress to complete two of the three remaining action items on demonstrating that effective,

proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed for TF convictions and that Pakistan’s targeted financial sanctions regime was being used effectively to targeted terrorist assets,”.

He said Pakistan has now completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan.

“The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address as soon as possible the one remaining CFT-related item by demonstrating that TF investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN designated terrorist groups,” he added.

In response to additional deficiencies later identified in Pakistan’s 2019 APG Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), Pakistan has made progress to address a number of the recommended actions in the MER and provided further high-level commitment in June 2021 to address these strategic deficiencies pursuant to a new action plan that primarily focuses on combating money laundering.

He said Pakistan should continue to work to address its strategically important AML/CFT deficiencies, by enhancing international cooperation by amending the MLA law;

demonstrating that assistance is being sought from foreign countries in implementing UNSCR 1373 designations; demonstrating that supervisors are conducting both on-site and off-site supervision commensurate with specific risks associated with DNFBPs, including applying appropriate sanctions where necessary;

demonstrating that proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are applied consistently to all legal persons and legal arrangements for non-compliance with beneficial ownership requirements; and demonstrating an increase in ML investigations and prosecutions and that proceeds of crime continue to be restrained and confiscated in line with Pakistan’s risk profile, including working with foreign counterparts to trace, freeze, and confiscate assets.

Pleyer said Pakistan should also demonstrating that DNFBPs are being monitored for compliance with proliferation financing requirements and that sanctions are being imposed for non-compliance.