How long will Pakistan survive FATF (Financial Action Task Force)?
In a significant development, the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering and Sponsored Terrorism of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on June 5 retained Pakistan on the ‘Enhanced Followup List’.
It will be discussed in the meeting of the global terror watchdog body next week whether to keep Pakistan on the grey list or be included in the blacklist. Pakistan’s status has also been downgraded on one criterion in the second follow-up report of the Mutual Assessment of Pakistan released by the APG, the regional partner of the FATF.
The APG found that Pakistan has complied in five cases, is working towards compliance in 15 other cases, while in one case it has partially complied.
The APG has made it clear that Pakistan will remain under surveillance and will continue to send progress reports on strengthening the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism measures.
The report further stated that Pakistan has been able to address the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its mutual assessment report.
Progress has been made and the same has been re-evaluated on 22 recommendations.
In this gloomy scenario, Pakistan has taken some superficial and pseudo-terrorist measures in a last-ditch effort to remove the humiliation and stigma of terror financing and sponsoring that led to its inclusion in the grey list in February this year.
so that he escapes potentially harsh action from the FATF. The FATF has given it a June deadline to comply with pre-conditions, including providing support and protection to terrorist groups from its soil.
As per the schedule, the FATF Evaluation and Compliance Group will start holding virtual meetings from June 14, while the Risks, Trends and Methods Group will monitor the entire development.
The next important review meeting of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group (A-JPG) of the FATF will examine Pakistan’s compliance with the recommendations contained in the Post Observation Period Report (POPR).
This will ultimately decide the further course of action on Pakistan’s progress whether to take it out of the grey list or put it on the blacklist. On this rests the financial aid to Pakistan from the World Bank and Asian Bank etc.
The last virtual meeting of the FATF took place from February 21 to February 26, 2021, and Pakistan was not included in the blacklist, while the Supreme Court there acquitted Omar Saeed Sheikh, accused of killing American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. , which angered the Biden administration that took it seriously.
Pakistan recently suffered a major setback when Britain questioned Pakistan’s anti-terrorism and its financing measures and included it in the list of 21 countries at high risk, although Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry denied this, saying that Britain’s assessment was not based on facts.
To avoid further strict action by the FATF, the Imran Khan government had submitted the follow-up report in February, October 2020 and February 2020. Experts say that only one report was accepted by the APG, in which Pakistan was re-evaluated from ‘partially compliant to ‘compliance’ in recommendation number 29 (Financial Intelligence Unit).
In the remaining two follow-up reports, Pakistan had requested for re-evaluation of the 27 recommendations, which would be reviewed by the groups. Pakistan’s claim of compliance with the FATF recommendations was found to be not entirely correct, which was earlier rated as ‘partially compliant and ‘non-compliant.
Desperate to achieve the remaining standards of the FATF, the Government of Pakistan has recently initiated confiscation, management and auction of assets related to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) cases and investigation of AML from police to provincial anti-corruption establishments and other similar agencies and specialized agencies.
New rules have been approved for the transfer of agencies. These rules and related notifications will come into force immediately for certain changes in the existing schedule of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 and for implementation, administrators and special public prosecutors will be appointed.
Experts believe that the FATF is expected to objectively assess the intentions and motives of Pakistan to take such measures before the June deadline, which wanted compliance with three of the 27 outstanding standards. Pakistan could also be in trouble because of the 2019 Country Report released by the US State Department, which concluded that Pakistan remains a haven for other regional terrorist groups.
It said that Pakistan allowed groups targeting Afghanistan to conduct terrorist activities from its territory, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated Haqqani groups, groups targeting India, including Lashkar and its affiliated organizations and Jaish-e. -Mohammed included.
Sameer Patil, Fellow of International Security Studies at Gateway House, said Pakistan is making a sham of a crackdown on terrorist groups, which is the opposite of the truth, as it initiated these measures weeks before the FATF plenary meeting, which allowed the FATF to It had proved its intent to deceive, to believe it was acting on the remaining issues of the Action Plan.
The Greek City Times has reported that Pakistan still needs to be blacklisted by FATF. The list is at risk as it continues to finance terrorism.