Asia Pacific Group (APG), as per the FATF’s procedures, would present its report in the FATF Plenary and Working Group meetings scheduled for October 13-18 in Paris. The session will conclude if Pakistan has sufficiently delivered on its 10-point action plan committed to fight money laundering and terror financing in order to qualify exit from the ‘Grey List’ or be given some more time to make further progress…. Writes Rifan Ahmed Khan
The Asia-Pacific Group (APG) next month will submit its assessment of Pakistan’s progress on strengthening of its systems against money laundering and terror financing, a media report said.
“The Pakistan delegation effectively presented Pakistan’s progress on each of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan items and provided additional information/clarification to the AP-Joint Group,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance said after two-day face-to-face meetings with the APG, a regional affiliate of the FATF, in Bangkok.
It said the APG, as per the FATF’s procedures, would present its report in the FATF Plenary and Working Group meetings scheduled for October 13-18 in Paris, France, Dawn news reported.
The FATF plenary will conclude if Pakistan has sufficiently delivered on its 10-point action plan committed at the highest level in June 2018 to fight money laundering and terror financing in order to qualify exit from the ‘Grey List’ or be given some more time to make further progress.
A 15-member Pakistan delegation, led by Minister for Economic Affairs Division Mohammad Hammad Azhar, attended the two-day meetings with the APG to discuss progress on the FATF action plan.
The development comes after the APG on August 23 place Pakistan under its enhanced monitoring mechanism after it failed to comply with 11 recommendations out of 40. During the last FATF Working Groups and Plenary meeting at Orlando in June decided to keep Pakistan in the “Grey List”. The meeting expressed concerns over the progress of Pakistan on the Action Plan items and set deadlines in January and May 2019. It further urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its Action Plan by September 2019 when the last set of deadlines are slated to expire and noted that if there is insufficient progress, it would decide the “Next Step” in the October 2019 FATF Plenary.
The review panel is not convinced with the Pakistani actions to clear their name. The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which is a FATF styled regional body, during its recent Annual Meeting at Canberra in August has placed Pakistan in the “enhanced expedited follow up process” after adopting its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).
This is another indication that Pakistan has serious failings in its implementation of the FATF standards on Anti-money laundering and terror financing. Pakistan was rated low on 10 out of the 11 FATF Immediate Outcomes (IO) and partially or non-compliant on 30 out of the 40 FATF recommendations in its MER.
Pakistan has reached out to all key FATF countries recently. Pakistan-origin politicians like Lord Nazir Ahmed are lobbying to lift the action. One of the constant themes of Pakistani propaganda vis-a-vis the FATF process has been that various countries, primarily India, were politicizing the proceedings, ostensibly of their own vested interests. However, the reality is far removed from this falsehood. Actually Pakistan is itself responsible for politicizing the process. In the run up the FATF Plenary (Paris, Oct 13-18), where Pakistan’s compliance with the Action Plan will assessed, Islamabad has been engaged in hectic lobbying in a desperate bid to influence the outcome of the FATF process.
During the 74th session in New York on Sept. 17-20 of the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be meeting leaders from Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, France, Germany, UK and Canada, lobbying for support on issues related to FATF and ‘Grey Listing’;
PM Khan’s meetings have also been proposed with the leaders of Indonesia, Australia, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, US, Mexico and Argentina for support. Moreover, citing so-called actions taken by Pakistan in compliance with the FATF Action Plan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will also seek support, in meeting with his counterparts from Kuwait, Sweden, South Korea, China, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Russia, Greece, Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Ireland, Brazil, etc. on the sidelines of the UNGA.
All these desperate attempts by Pakistan to obfuscate the truth of its non-compliance with FATF stipulations. During recent assessments, Pakistan has been rated low on 10 out of 11 FATF immediate outcomes, and partially or non-compliant on thirty out of forty FATF recommendations, as per its Mutual Evaluation Report.
Moreover under the FATF Action Plan, Pakistan has nothing to show by way of terror-related seizures in the list of more than 900 seized properties of various terror organisations, nor were formal terror financing cases lodged or investigations completed since February 2018. Thus, Pakistan has been largely non-compliant on all the parameters stipulated by the FATF. Hence all complaints of politicisation of the process, and hectic lobbying by its leadership, are merely aimed at letting it off the hook.