Pakistan to choke militant funding to avoid being blacklisted by FATF: Report
Islamabad, Jun 27: Pakistan has submitted a comprehensive 26-point action plan to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to choke the funding of militants groups, including Hafiz Saeed-led JuD and its affiliates, to avoid being blacklisted by it, according to a media report.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Currently placed on the FATF’S ‘grey list’, Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the FATF, a measure that officials here fear could hurt its economy, which is already under strain.
Discussion started yesterday at the FATF plenary in Paris on Pakistan’s 26-point action plan spanning over a period of 15 months, the ‘Express Tribune’ reported.
Quoting sources in the Ministry of Finance, the paper said that Pakistan’s plan envisages choking the financing of “terrorist groups” like Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Jamaat-ud Dawa and its affiliates Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
A formal announcement about Pakistan’s status is expected on Friday. This is for the first time that all 26 actions have been published in detail, the report said.
The plan requires Pakistani authorities to proactively cooperate with counterpart bilateral agencies to choke financing for terror groups.
The sources said that the plan was quite ambitious and added that the country was committed to proving to the world that it was ready to go an extra mile to curb money laundering, despite its reservations that the plan was politically motivated.
Pakistan will have to deliver on the first goal by January next year and complete all the 26 actions by September 2019, the sources said.
In February 2018, the FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as ‘Grey List’.
If the FATF endorses the 26-point Action Plan, it will formally place Pakistan on the grey list. In case the FATF rejects the plan, Pakistan will be on the FATF’s Public Statement, being called the Blacklist.
The sources said that nine commitments in the plan are about concerns regarding the UNSC resolutions, eight commitments to address concerns regarding terrorism financing prosecution, four are about curbing currency movement across the border and five relate to improvement in the supervision mechanisms of banks and companies.
By January, Pakistan will start proactively initiating financial inquiries of terrorist groups and their members. By September 2019, Pakistan will address the key concern of identifying and investigating the widest range of terrorism financing activities like the collection, movement or use of funds by September next year, according to the plan.
It will give special focus to curb cash smuggling, narcotics trafficking, misuse of non-profit organisations, particularly funding of the “terrorist groups” including Da’ish, Al Qaeda, JuD, Faleh-e-Insaniat Foundation, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jesh-e-Mohammad, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
By May, Pakistan will show that terrorism financing prosecutions successfully result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions against natural and legal persons convicted of terrorism financing offences.
It will also proactively provide international cooperation in cases of targeting, investigating and prosecuting terrorism financing cases.
The sources said that Pakistan has committed that by January 2019 it will demonstrate that terrorism financing risks are properly identified, assessed and understood by the State Bank of Pakistan and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
Pakistan has committed that within six months it will make sure that the nature of risks of cash couriers being used for terrorism financing are fully understood and taken care of.
By January next year, Pakistan will publish updated lists of persons and entities proscribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities.
The sources said that Pakistan will also show that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons and entities are deprived of their resources and their usage.