FATF meeting in late June to decide Pakistan’s destiny

The newly appointed caretaker Federal Minister for Finance Dr Shamshad Akhtar instructed all relevant authorities to fill in required gaps on the legal and administrative fronts before going to this FATF meeting

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ISLAMABAD: A plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to be held from June 24th to 29th, 2018 in Paris would decide whether to place Pakistan on the grey list or not.

Authorities in Islamabad have gone all out to ensure that the country avoids being put on the grey list, which could have ramifications for the economy, reported an English daily.

The newly appointed caretaker Federal Minister for Finance Dr Shamshad Akhtar instructed all relevant authorities to fill in required gaps on the legal and administrative fronts before going to this FATF meeting.

An official shared Ms Akhtar had evaluated all administrative and legal steps initiated by Islamabad to ensure it doesn’t slip into grey list category and due work would be done to ensure to achieve the desired objectives.

A meeting was held at Ministry of Finance on Wednesday to evaluate various FATF related issues and was presided over by interim Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar.

An official source disclosed Pakistan’s high-powered delegation would be participating in this forthcoming plenary session of FATF from June 24th to 29th, which would ultimately decide whether to place the country on greylist or not.

The caretaker federal minister for information and law Barrister Ali Zafar said the interim government would undertake all efforts to ensure that Pakistan doesn’t get blacklisted.

He added he was confident the current legal regime of the country was compliant with global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terror financing (CTF) rules.

Mr Zafar stated the finance ministry required some time for finalization of the plan and would then provide a final presentation to the federal cabinet.

The caretaker federal minister for information and law said the interim government would make efforts to resolve all problems whilst remaining in the ambit of the Constitution.

According to sources, the fresh plan would hinge around four areas of concern which were shared by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering and the FATF.

FATF is seeking implementation of 27 recommendations from Pakistan’s end to exhibit progress in these four areas.

One of them is the improvement of supervisions of the AML and CTF, reining in illicit cross-border movement of currency via Chaman and Torkham, improving prosecution in AML and CTF cases and ensuring adherence to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

The caretaker law minister said it was in Pakistan’s interest to ensure improvement in areas of prosecution and probing in money laundering and terrorism financing cases.

In recently held deliberations in Bangkok, some gaps were pointed out for finalizing action plan against money laundering and terror financing and various steps were being taken to fill this gap, said an official.

During the meeting, Pakistan would provide details about the actions it had formulated to combat money laundering and terror financing which was done via the passing of Finance Bill 2018.

Finance Bill 2018 would allow taxing foreign jurisdictions and a mutual assistance agreement with OECD and other bilateral countries would aid Pakistan in reining in money laundering.

The plenary meeting is conducted for ensuring implementation, adoption and execution of internationally accepted anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards which are laid down in FATF eight special recommendations and forty recommendations.