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Pakistan reiterates commitment to completion of FATF action plan

Updated June 21, 2019

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The global watchdog said it was concerned that Pakistan had failed to complete the action plan first by a January deadline and then again by a May deadline. ─ FSC.go.kr
The global watchdog said it was concerned that Pakistan had failed to complete the action plan first by a January deadline and then again by a May deadline. ─ FSC.go.kr

Pakistan reiterated its commitment to taking all necessary measures to ensure completion of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan in a timely manner, a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance said on Friday.

The statement, issued after a plenary meeting of the FATF took place in Orlando, Florida, said that the meeting reviewed the compliance of a number of countries, including Pakistan, with the international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT).

"Pakistan was placed by FATF in its compliance document in view of an action plan agreed with Pakistan in June 2018 to strengthen its AML/CFT Regime," the statement recalled.

In today's meeting, the FATF reviewed progress made by Pakistan towards implementation of the action plan, the statement said.

"It acknowledged the steps taken by Pakistan to improve its AML/CFT regime and highlighted the need for further actions for implementing the action plan. FATF will undertake the next review of Pakistan’s Progress in October 2019," the ministry said.

"The Government of Pakistan reiterates its commitment to take all necessary measures to ensure completion of the Action Plan in a timely manner," it added.

The FATF also issued a statement following its meeting today, in which it expressed concern that Pakistan had failed to complete the action plan first by a January deadline and then again by a May deadline.

It urged Pakistan to "swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire".

"Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress," it warned.

Islamabad has been on the global money laundering watchdog’s radar since June 2018, when it was placed on a grey list for terror financing and money laundering risks after an assessment of the country's financial system and security mechanism.

Turkey was the only country that had opposed the move backed by the United States, the United Kingdom and India. However, Islamabad’s longtime ally, Beijing, abstained.

Moving one step further, New Delhi — co-chair of the joint group of FATF and Asia Pacific Group — wants Islamabad to be placed on the Paris-based watchdog’s blacklist of the countries, which fail to meet international standards in combating financial crimes.

Islamabad, at a meeting in Guangzhou, China last month, was reportedly asked to "do more" as its compliance on 18 of the 27 indicators — pointed out in the action plan — was deemed unsatisfactory.

Pakistan, in recent months, has taken some major steps in accordance with the action plan, which includes no foreign currency transactions without a national tax number, and a ban on currency change of up to $500 in the open currency market without submission of a national identity card copy.

In addition to that, Islamabad has also proscribed several militant groups and seized their assets, including Jamat-ud-Dawa’h, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) — the groups blamed for several terrorist attacks such as the 2009 deadly Mumbai attacks killing over 150 people.

Panama back on watchlist

Panama has been placed back on an international money laundering watchlist by the FATF, the Central American country's economy minister announced on Friday.

"Despite recognising the progress made by Panama and its political commitment at the highest level, the FATF plenary held this week approved that Panama be included" on the list, said the minister, Eyda Varela.