Pakistan needs to step up fight against terrorism financing, FATF says

indica News Bureau-


Observing that Pakistan has failed to complete its action plan on counterterrorism financing, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday asked Islamabad to meet its commitment by October or face actions which could include its blacklisting.

In a statement, FATF, the inter-government body charged with combating money laundering, expressed concern “that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019.”

As such FATF “strongly” 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,” the international financial body said in a strong warning to Pakistan, which is a hub of global terrorism activities and is being accused by many countries of acting as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The FATF statement came at the end of its plenary meeting in Orlando, Florida. FATF said that Pakistan has taken steps toward improving its AML/CFT (anti-money laundering/combating the financial terrorism) regime, including the recent development of its terrorism financing (TF) risk-assessment addendum; however, it does not demonstrate a proper understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risk.

Pakistan should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies, including by adequately demonstrating its proper understanding of the TF risks posed by terrorist groups and conducting supervision on a risk-sensitive basis; and demonstrate that remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institution, it said.

It asked Pakistan to demonstrate that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS); and demonstrate that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for TF.

Pakistan, FATF said, should improve inter-agency coordination including between provincial and federal authorities on combating TF risks; and demonstrate that law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and persons and entities acting on behalf of or at the direction of the designated persons or entities.

FATF asked Pakistan to demonstrate that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and enhance the capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary.

Pakistan needs to effectively implement targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services.

FATF said that Pakistan needs to demonstrate enforcement against TFS violations including administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases; and demonstrate that facilities and services owned or controlled by a designated person are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources

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