Global anti-money watchdog acknowledges the implementation of 26 out of 27 points: Gives six-point action plan to Islamabad for MER Process: Ministry says plenary admits Pakistan’s unprecedented achievements
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to retain Pakistan on its grey list while acknowledging that the country has fully implemented 26 out of 27 points of its action plan. The anti-money laundering watchdog has also given another six-point action plan pertaining to the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) Process to Islamabad.
“Pakistan remains under increased monitoring [list]… the Pakistani government has made substantial progress, making its counter terrorism financing system stronger and more effective,” FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said while addressing a press conference following a five-day virtual meeting of the body in Paris.
He said Islamabad has largely addressed 26 of 27 items on FATF’s action plan. “However, one key item still needs to be completed which relates to the investigation and prosecution of senior commanders and leaders of UN designated terror groups,” the FATF chief added.
In addition to this, Dr Marcus said a separate process has been taking place over the past few years and back in 2019 the FATF regional partner, the APG (Asia Pacific Group) identified a number of serious issues during its assessment of Pakistan’s entire anti-money laundering and financing system. “Since then Pakistan has made improvement… this includes clear efforts to raise awareness in the private sector.”
However, he said Pakistan is still failing to effectively implement a number of measures to effectively curb the practices of money laundering. “This means risks of money laundering remain high which in turn can fuel corruption and organized crime.” The anti-money laundering body chief further said that FATF has worked out a new action plan for Pakistan that largely focuses on money laundering risks.
“This includes increasing the number of prosecutions and investigations and also makes sure that law enforcement agencies cooperate internationally to trace, freeze and confiscate assets,” he added. “I want to thank Pakistani government for their continued strong commitment to this process. Pakistan has already made substantial progress since the APG report first identified the issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance in a statement said that FATF discussed Pakistan’s progress report on 2018 Action Plan and Post Observation Period Report (POPR) in its virtual Plenary held on February 23, 2021. Pakistani delegation under the lead of Minister Muhammad Hammad Azhar attended this virtual FATF Plenary. The Plenary discussion on Pakistan focused on three main areas; Pakistan’s Technical Compliance, ICRG Action Plan and Post Observation Period Report (POPR), said the statement.
On technical compliance, FATF appreciated Pakistan’s commitment and efforts in seeking upgrades in a number of recommendations and expected that Pakistan would continue same momentum, according to the statement. It said that regarding 2018 Action Plan, the FATF recognised considerable progress made by Pakistan on action plan and Pakistan’s high-level commitment. Pakistan has now completed 26 of the 27 Action Plan items. The FATF, after discussion, decided to retain status quo for Pakistan i.e. countries in increased monitoring for 2018 TF Action Plan, for remaining one action plan item. Pakistan is confident that the remaining action item would be completed before FATF’s next Plenary scheduled in October 2021, the statement said.
In relation to POPR, FATF acknowledged Pakistan’s significant progress and continuation of Pakistan’s high-level commitment. A total of 82 deficiencies were highlighted in Pakistan’s 2019 MER which were included in the POPR as 67 recommended actions in 11 IOs, on which Pakistan reported progress. As a result of the progress made since the MER 2019, the FATF approved a 7 points ML centric action plan to be implemented by Pakistan. Pakistan has already provided its political commitment to FATF for implementation of the new Action Plan.
The statement said that during the FATF plenary, there was a broader consensus on Pakistan’s continued efforts and progress on implementation of TF Action Plan as well as MER Recommended Actions. There was a complete consensus among the membership regarding Pakistan’s unprecedented achievements in FATF, said the statement.
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