Pakistani delegation leaves for France to attend FATF meeting


A high-level Pakistani delegation on Sunday left for France to attend a two-day meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary and Working Group that will begin today (Monday) amid uncertainty whether Pakistan will be able to avoid being placed into ‘Blacklist’ category.

The sources said if it is established that Pakistan has failed to meet the implementation of the 29-point Action Plan, then it could be included into the ‘Blacklist’ category in next couple of months but the officials have claimed that Pakistan has done extremely well in its review at the Asia-Pacific Joint Group that met at Bangkok in August so it would also handle the situation quite comfortably.

The Pakistani delegation included Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hamad Azhar, Additional Secretary Finance Ministry Sohail Rajput and representatives of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The sources said the report that would be presented in the meeting would inform the FATF that the FBR established an FATF Cell in July this year to ensure effective and timely implementation of measures against terror financing carried out through currency smuggling. It states since 2015 the FIA has registered 1,111 cases against suspected terror financiers, seized Rs2 billion, arrested 1,466 accused and secured 254 convictions from various courts.

“Pakistan is taking unprecedented measures to deal with some highly important issues such as Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Profession (DNFBPs): Customer due diligence, Transparency and Beneficial Owner/Ownership of Legal Arrangements, Regulation and Supervision of the DNFBPs, and Mutual Legal Assistance: Freezing and Confiscation,” the sources said.

The sources added that the report would also highlight the efforts of Pakistan in other areas like financial intelligence, money-laundering investigations and prosecution, confiscation, terror-financing investigations and prosecution, terror-financing preventive measures and financial sanctions, and proliferation-financing financial sanctions.

The FATF placed Pakistan on Grey List in June 2018 and came up with 29-point action plan for graduating it within one-year period.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Asia-Pacific Group on money laundering in its report issued on October 6 stated that Pakistan has either fully, largely, or partially complied with 36 of the 40 parameters set by the FATF at the time of the right to self-determination, India has subjected them to brutal suppression for decades,” she said.

To make matters worse, the Pakistani envoy said, India illegally annexed Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, turning it into the world’s largest prison, as thousands of additional troops were moved into the disputed state, already the world’s most militarised zone. “There are scores of chilling reports about widespread torture and arbitrary arrests; of thousands including young children being abducted from their homes in night raids, without any trace; of food supplies running out, of hospitals running short of critical supplies and being turned into graveyard; of children left to die for lack of medical attention.”

Resolution of the Kashmir dispute is an integral part of decolonisation, the Pakistani envoy said, emphasizing that it is time to stop the pervading sense of cynicism born out of perceived selectivity and bias in the work of the United Nations.

Ambassador Lodhi went on to stress that unilateral actions in gross violation of Security Council resolutions threaten the rules based international order and erode the credibility and legitimacy of the United Nations. “Among the oldest issues on the UN agenda, the Kashmir dispute serves as an ignominious face to a cruel occupation that has already lasted a lifetime.”

Going forward, she pledged Pakistan will remain the voice of Kashmiris in all international forums especially the UN until justice is done and they are able to exercise their right to self-determination.