APG report and after

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SOURCEDaily Times
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As the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meets in Paris on October 13 to review Pakistan’s progress on compliance with recommendations to fight money laundering and terror financing, the recently released report by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) carries mixed signals – progress on many recommendations, yet faltering on many also. Since the process began in 2018 Pakistan has been slapped with warnings and unsatisfactory reports. The APG downgraded Pakistan to the ‘enhanced follow-up category’ for its failure to meet important deadlines in August. After repeated failures Prime Minister Imran Khan set up a two-member coordination committee to oversee the full execution of FATF tasks till Dec 1. The committee’s performance can be seen in the APG report, which sees significance progress in making its systems safe from money laundering and terror financing as per international standards.

Also Read: Pakistan’s FATF compliance poor: APG report

The APG report states that Pakistan is non-compliant on four out of 40 recommendations, fully compliant only on one, partially compliant on 26 and largely compliant on nine others. The poor score in “fully-compliant” section may cast a shadow on the overall gains. The APG report stands Pakistan in ‘medium’ national risk-rating and national risk Arlene. Islamabad is stated to be relying on financial intelligence to check money laundering and terror financing and predicate and ambush crimes and trace property for confiscation, but only to a minimal extent. The capacity of law enforcement agencies to fight money laundering and terror financing leaves a little to be desired. The report states that organisations involved in terrorism have not been confronted with seizure of funds or assets

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Other than progress on FATF recommendations, there is lots of politics in the task force circles. Recently, the Indian external affairs ministry said that Pakistan would be put on blacklist in the Paris meeting, prompting a strong reaction from the Foreign Office. Of course, politics and lobbying are involved in the task force. Pakistan should also initiate effective lobbying in the FATF circles. Luckily, the task force is being presided over by China and it is hoped Pakistan will have fair chances of presenting its case.

Meanwhile, back at home, high-powered committees should put in enhanced mechanisms to make money laundering and terror financing a thing of past. Of course, terror financing and other financial crimes hurt Pakistan. *

(This news/article originally appeared in Daily Times on October 9th, 2019)

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