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FATF appreciates Pakistan’s anti-money laundering steps


News Analysis |

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has termed the steps taken by Pakistan to combat money laundering and terrorism “satisfactory”. But the watchdog also suggested taking more steps to meet its May 2019 deadline, so as to be de-listed. The FATF had placed Pakistan on a money laundering “grey list” early in 2018 but had given it time to take action against a further downgrade.

Since after the installment of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s government in Pakistan, there has been considerable focus on the elimination of extremism and policies to counter money laundering as Prime Minister Imran Khan has been himself monitoring all ongoing policies.

The US argued Pakistani analysts, intended to put pressure on Pakistan to get desired ends in Afghanistan. In the present scenario, talks are being held between the Afghan Taliban and US establishment.

“Since June 2018, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to strengthen its anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, Pakistan has taken steps towards improving the regime, including by operationalizing the integrated database for its currency declaration regime,” the body said in a statement.

In order to qualify for a de-listing, the FATF has urged that Pakistan should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies. It is important to note here that Pakistan has taken substantial steps to curb money laundering and terrorism financing. The Pakistani agencies traced around 8500 suspicious transactions and imposed a ban on the militant groups involved in extremist activities.

Read more: “Do more” to get out of FATF greylist: Experts to govt

As a matter of fact, when Pakistan was to be placed on the FATF’s list, the Foreign Office’s spokesperson dr. Muhammad Faisal had said that the government in Islamabad was seriously working to eradicate the menace of terrorism. “The government of Pakistan, over the last few years, has taken numerous steps to address these issues, including through enactment of legislation, issuance of regulations and guidelines by SBP and SECP to the financial sector, establishment of the Financial Monitoring Unit and implementation of UNSC 1267 sanctions on the entities of concern (JuD/FIF),” he said.

Some media reports suggested that the USA was lobbying against Pakistan, and was trying to put its name on the grey-list with the help of India. The US argued Pakistani analysts, intended to put pressure on Pakistan to get desired ends in Afghanistan. In the present scenario, talks are being held between the Afghan Taliban and US establishment. Moreover, Islamabad has established itself strongly at the diplomatic front and has been working on improving its economy. Therefore, the USA is no longer critical of Pakistan rather the US President has praised the government in Islamabad.

Read more: Have the dark clouds of FATF started to wither away?

Furthermore, Pakistan has also decided to take action against the extremist elements without favoring anyone. The government has recently taken the media to the alleged headquarters of Jaish-e-Muhammad after taking control of two seminaries in Bahawalpur; Government has also banned Hafiz Saeed’s Jamat-ud-Dawa and taking Maulana Khadim Rizvi into custody for inciting religious fervor. This reflects the government’s seriousness and commitment to make Pakistan a terror-free country and this is what the FATF has acknowledged and appreciated.

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