The main concern of the FATF is to ensure compliance by Pakistan related to implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws. The form also seeks action against banned groups and proscribed persons…. reports Asian Lite News. The final decision on Pakistan will be made in the FATF meeting likely to be held in Paris in February 2020
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) seeks more action from Pakistan on terror-funding and money laundering and forwarded 150 comments and sought action against banned groups and proscribed persons.
Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court indicts Hafiz Saeed, chief of the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), and other JuD leaders in another terror financing case. The JuD leadership is facing more than two dozen cases related to terror financing and money laundering, registered in five cities. All the cases have been clubbed before Lahore anti-terrorism courts due to security concerns, The News reported.
Officials presented Hafiz Saeed and others before the ATC judge regarding proceedings of an FIR filed by Counterterrorism Department (CTD) Gujranwala.
Saeed and others refused to accept charges levelled against them in the FIR. The court then framed charges against JuD leaders and summoned prosecution witnesses on December 21. On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the JuD were booked in two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.
The Counterterrorism Department (CTD), which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc. Furthermore, the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan. These non-profit organisations were banned in April.
Later, on July 17, Hafiz Saeed was arrested from Gujranwala on charges of terror financing by the Punjab CTD. He was sent to prison on judicial remand after the CTD presented him before a Gujranwala ATC. Besides the top JuD leaders, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Mohammad Yahya Aziz, Mohammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, DMuhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Mohammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar were booked in the cases.
However, the JuD leaders claim that they have been nominated in the cases by wrongly attributing them as leaders of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). As per counsel of the JuD leaders, his clients had quit the LeT before the organisation was banned in 2002.
The counsel argued that the cases against his clients have been made on the basis of a link to defunct Al-Nifal Trust which was formed to construct mosques in the country.
FATF Seeks More Action
The main concern of the FATF is to ensure compliance by Pakistan related to implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws.
Sources in the interior ministry said that the there were several questions regarding action taken against seminaries affiliated with banned organisations or proscribed persons who have been listed in IVth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), The Dawn reported.
The FATF is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies for combating money laundering. In 2001 its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing. It monitors progress in implementing the FATF recommendations through mutual evaluations of member countries.
Pakistan had submitted the initial progress report to the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the FATF on Dec 3 regarding implementation of the action plan, which related to shortcomings pointed out at the previous review, The Dawn added.
According to sources privy to the development, it has been decided that initially an internal meeting, to be chaired by the director general of the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), will be held in Islamabad on Sunday and the replies will be collected next week.
The FATF has also sought other details including copies of lawsuits filed against banned organisations and proscribed persons. Originally there were 27 objections over Pakistan and the country was able to respond to five of them with satisfaction report which related to promulgation of anti-money laundering and terror funding laws etc.
The final meetings would be chaired by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, who is the government’s focal person on FATF issues, and Pakistan will submit its case by Jan 8, 2020.
“A meeting is scheduled to be held during the APG meeting between Jan 21 — 24 in Beijing,” the official said. “The final decision will be made in the FATF meeting likely to be held in Paris in February 2020.”