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December 7, 2019

FATF wants conviction of banned outfits’ members

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December 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Out of total 27 action plan, Pakistan has submitted its progress report on 22 points before the joint group of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in fresh bid to avoid falling into blacklist.

Under the FATF plenary review meeting held last October 2019, Pakistan was categorised largely compliant on 5 points out of total 27 action plan in last October. Now Islamabad has submitted its progress report on remaining 22 points before the joint group with the desire to come out from grey list or at least avoid falling into blacklist in the upcoming FATF’s plenary review expected to take place in next February 2020.

“The FATF desires to see progress on all points but their special focus is on Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professions (DNFBP) especially gems and jewelry under regulations and conviction of proscribed organisations’ persons,” said official sources.

Now the joint group FATF will raise questions on submitted compliance report of Pakistan till third week of December then it will ask Pakistan to reply back till January 7, 2020. The face-to-face meeting of FATF is scheduled to meet in Beijing from January 21 to 24, 2020 where the Pakistani side will be given an opportunity to defend each and every point written in its compliance report.

Pakistani authorities are expecting that the FATF may grant another relaxation probably up to June 2020 in its upcoming plenary review meeting as the present February deadline is too short a period for Pakistan to comply with all remaining 22 action plans.

However, the sources said the FATF had already granted an extension till February 2020 in a meeting in October this year. The task force kept the country on its grey list for an extended period up to February 2020 and warned that Islamabad would be put on the blacklist if it did not comply with the remaining 22 out of 27 points related to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

Pakistan had so far successfully managed to escape falling into the blacklist due to the diplomatic support from China, Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Middle East countries. India had failed to convince the powers of the world that Pakistan is not cooperating with the watchdog related to terror financing. The joint working group of the FATF declared Pakistan as largely compliant on 10 points, but the FATF plenary meeting accepted Islamabad’s compliance only on five points out of 27 action plans.

The FATF said all deadlines in the action plan have now expired. While noting recent improvements, the FATF again expressed serious concern over the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its terrorist financing (TF) risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of its transnational TF risks, and more broadly, the country’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the TF risks emanating from the jurisdiction.

Pakistan has only largely addressed five of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan. The FATF strongly urged the country to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020.

“Should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next plenary, the FATF will take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their FIs (financial institutions) to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan,” the FATF said in a previous statement.

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