Pakistan to avoid FATF blacklist with support of friends

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VIAIrshad Ansari
SOURCEThe Express Tribune
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ISLAMABAD: Three friendly countries have assured Pakistan of full support at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings scheduled to take place from October 13 in Paris. Their backing is expected to thwart India’s nefarious designs of trying to get Pakistan’s name placed on the black list.

“If three member states announce their support for Pakistan, its name cannot be included in the FATF black list,” a senior officer of the finance ministry told The Express Tribune on Monday.

Sources said Pakistan lobbied three friendly states ahead of the FATF meetings and Malaysia, China and Turkey announced their support for Pakistan.

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They said that there was no chance that Pakistan’s name would be included in the black list, but if its name was not withdrawn from the grey list, it would remain there for another six months.

A technical team of Pakistan, headed by Financial Monitoring Unit director general, has reached China and will leave China today (Tuesday) for Paris to hold talks with the FATF officials.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar will leave for Paris on Wednesday and after participating in the FATF meetings will attend the meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the US.

Sources also said the Pakistani team would meet top officials. Prior to this, it toured Malaysia and also held talks with Turkish officials.

At the FATF, sources disclosed that discussions would be held on the new National Risk Assessment report compiled by Pakistan on the dangers of money laundering and terrorism financing.

On approval by the FATF, the National Risk Assessment plan would be compiled and then implemented.

Sources said the new National Risk Assessment study prepared with the cooperation of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) was based on 150 pages.

An officer privy to the development said three important financing threats had been determined in the report – what are the dangers of terrorism and terrorism financing; what threats remain on account of terrorism financing; and to which departments and which places.

Apart from this, the study identified the departments and areas which were vulnerable, weak and insecure. Different recommendations had also been prepared to address these flaws and weaknesses.

Sources said the previous National Risk Assessment report had been rejected by the FATF as it lacked a comprehensive and clear study on terrorism financing with only two pages on the subject.

However, the new study contained more than 12 pages on the topic, including action taken against banned organisations involved in terrorism and terrorism financing along with the progress regarding prosecution.

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The report also included the number of FIRs registered against people and the phase in which their cases were.

Sources said the report also stated the number of networks of banned organisations apprehended and eliminated and also about their sub-groups. They said the regulatory regime to curb money laundering and terrorism financing had also been strengthened. “The laws have also been made strict while punishments in this regard have also been increased. Under the FATF recommendations 22, 23 and 28, lawyers, chartered accountants, real estate dealers and dealers of precious gems and all other Designated Non-financial Businesses and Professionals will have their income and activities monitored and a policy for implementing other recommendations in this regard has been formulated,” said sources about the content of the report. “Monitoring of some departments has started,” it added.

(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on October 8th, 2019)
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