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According to the news coming from the FATF virtual meeting in Paris, Pakistan will be on the FATF’s grey list till June-July, but before that we need to talk more about what is FATF and What is its working model and what does its black gray list mean?
Why is it important to know about FATF?
FATF stands for Financial Action Task Force. The main purpose of this task force is to monitor measures against financing and money laundering for global terrorism. While its scope is currently up to two countries.
Simply put, the FATF is a task force set up to monitor and enforce money laundering and terrorist financing laws around the world.
The FATF includes counter-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing experts from around the world.
The FATF has 35 members, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China and India, while Pakistan is not a member of the FATF.
Why is Pakistan on the grey list?
This is June 2018 when Pakistan was added to the FATF’s grey list. The main reason for the inclusion of Pakistan in the grey list was that unfortunately the Pakistan FATF did not satisfy the task force with the measures taken against the financing of the terrorist network.
On this basis, the United States and others had tabled a resolution to put Pakistan on the watch list of non-cooperating countries for showing weakness in the financial affairs of terrorist organizations and stopping their financing.
Significant steps to get Pakistan off the grey list
It may be recalled that when Pakistan was included in the gray list in June 2018, there was a PML-N government in the country and the then Finance Minister Muftah Ismail had emphasized in his statement that Pakistan had taken steps on its own. We hope that Pakistan will be out of the gray list soon.
On the other hand, in 2009, Pakistan formed the National Executive Committee (NEC) headed by the Federal Minister of Finance to implement the terms of the FATF. The NEC is comprised of all federal agencies and its purpose is to provide guidance in accordance with international law.
Not only this, but also the formation of the General Committee was carried out and this General Committee included federal investigative, financial and law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, all the institutions of Pakistan including Ministry of Law, Ministry of Home Affairs, State Bank, Securities and Exchange Commission, Pakistan Stock Exchange, NAB, FIA, ANF, FBR (Customs and Inland Revenue), National Counter Terrorism Authority , National Savings, Pakistan Post, ICAP, Pakistan Bar Council and provincial level police, law and order and social welfare agencies are playing their role in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing to the best of their ability.
What are the six points of FATF that are yet to be implemented?
When the FATF included Pakistan in the gray list in June 2018 and gave a 27-point agenda, by following which it can come out of the gray list of the organization.
While till February 2012, Pakistan had implemented 14 points and it was informed in the meeting on Friday that Pakistan has also implemented seven more points.
In the remaining six points, according to the FATF statement, Pakistan needs to ensure that its law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute large-scale terrorist financing. In this regard, especially those who have been included in the list of terrorists by the United Nations should be investigated and prosecuted. In addition, such persons should also be prosecuted for being involved in the activities of the persons named in the list.
The FATF has called on Pakistan to impose effective sanctions on terrorism financing as a result of litigation.
It also said that Pakistan should take steps to ensure that financial sanctions are effectively imposed on individuals who have been declared terrorists under UN Resolutions 1267 and 1373, as well as those who are subordinate to them. Strict financial sanctions should be imposed on those involved. Such individuals are prohibited from raising or transferring funds or using any banking services. Similarly, all their assets should be confiscated.
In addition, Pakistan needs to ensure that law enforcement agencies such as banks, etc., receive administrative and civil penalties for supporting terrorism, and that provincial and federal agencies cooperate in this regard.
Major General Babar Iftikhar shows optimism about the FATF issue
In his recent press conference, Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar said that he was optimistic about the FATF issue, adding that the journey that Pakistan has taken in the last four years is at every level.
Major General Babar Iftikhar said that great work has been done on FATF observations.
Possibility of keeping Pakistan’s name in the grey list
Pakistan’s name is likely to remain on the grey list because of Pakistan.
The measures have averted the threat of blacklisting while Pakistanis are hopeful that if the implementation of the points is decided on merit, Pakistan’s name will be removed from the grey list but the June 2021 meeting will put Pakistan on the grey list.