US support will be key to overcoming FATF challenge

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VIA ZAHEER ABBASI & ALI HUSSAIN
SOURCEBusiness Recorder
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Pakistan requires at least three votes to block any proposal by the 37-member Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to put it on the blacklist and a consensus to remove it from the grey to white list, according to sources in the Finance Ministry. “We are optimists and believe that a lot of work has been done”, sources told Business Recorder, adding that Pakistan is talking to all member countries and the world has realized that Pakistan is serious about taking substantial steps against money laundering and combating financing of terrorism.

ALSO Read: Pakistan’s fate at FATF still hangs in balance

“We are making our financial system more effective against money laundering and CFT,” sources further stated. Hammad Azhar, Minister for Economic Affairs, told media a few days before leaving for Thailand to present Pakistan’s case in the scheduled Asia Pacific Group (AGP) meeting that Pakistan has started lobbying with the help of friendly countries to thwart Indian designs at FATF’s plenary session scheduled for October in Paris, France.

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The amendments in foreign exchange regulation laws (FERA) to restrict domestic movement of currency beyond a certain limit would curb the practice of Hawala/Hundi and other forms of illegal foreign exchange transactions, a Finance Ministry official told Business Recorder. Pakistan has also developed an effective mechanism to ensure an effective coordination mechanism between federal and provincial law enforcement agencies.

Pakistan is making hectic diplomatic efforts with friendly countries as well as with the Untied States to get the required support for averting being blacklisting by the FATF, sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated. Pakistan as a key facilitator in the US-Taliban talks is in touch with the Americans in getting support of the Trump administration for its case in the FATF.

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“We have been taking up this [FATF] issue at every level with the US authorities, including during the recent visit of Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, who acknowledged that Pakistan has made progress in efforts towards implementation of FATF Action Plan. Let’s see what happens when the FATF meets again in October this year,” said a senior government official.

(This news/article originally appeared in Business Recorder on September 13th, 2019)

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