PM Khan chairs high-level meeting on internal security, FATF action plan

March 27, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the participants of the meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Islamabad on Wednesday. — PTI
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the participants of the meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Islamabad on Wednesday. — PTI

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting at the Prime Minister's Office "to discuss matters of security", a statement issued by the PM Office said.

According to the statement, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the DG Inter Services Intelligence, Secretary Foreign Affairs, Secretary Interior, the DG Inter Services Public Relations and senior officials were in attendance.

"Security matters were discussed during the meeting," the statement said without further elaboration.

However, sources within the PM Office told DawnNewsTV that a discussion on matters of internal security was the focus of the meeting, with progress on the implementation of the Finance Action Task Force (FATF) action plan, the National Action Plan, and the ongoing crackdown on banned organisations also coming into discussion.

During the last such meeting chaired by the premier, held two weeks ago, money laundering had been the point of focus. The government had decided to make significant amendments in money laundering and foreign exchange laws and enhance the maximum imprisonment to 10 years and the fine to Rs5 million for convicts.

FATF Action Plan and 'high risk' entities

The country has taken several steps since the February 18-22 meetings with FATF functionaries to comply with latest instructions to meet various deadlines in order to avoid being included in a money laundering and counter terrorism financing blacklist.

It has declared as “high risk” all the eight entities and related elements specifically named by FATF as threats to the global financial system.

Achieving 27 targets under a 10-point action plan has now become a top priority for the government. As the FATF meetings were still in progress in February, the government had announced a ban on Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FiF) and declared them as "high risk".

Under the "high risk" category, the government is required to start monitoring and re-examining the groups’ activities and profiles under heightened security checks at all layers of legal, administrative, investigative and financial regimes.

Take a look: Pakistan deserves international support, not a place on the FATF grey-list

FATF's International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) which reviewed Pakistan’s performance in recent meetings was not satisfied with the progress made by it vis-a-vis milestones set for January. This was despite improvements in the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and on the integrated database for currency declaration arrangements.

Thereafter, FATF urged “Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019” to address strategic deficiencies. The FATF had noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment, but did “not demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by Islamic State group, AQ [Al Qaeda], JuD, FiF, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba], JeM, HQN [Haqqani network], and persons affiliated with the Taliban”.

A delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering — a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — arrived on Monday to assess whether Pakistan has made enough progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the watchdog’s grey list.

Meetings to that end are expected to run till Thursday.