Pakistan — Greyed Out!

IndraStra Global

Pakistan — Greyed Out!

By IndraStra Global News Team

Pakistan —  Greyed Out!

On June 27, 2018, Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), also known as Groupe d'action financière — grey-listed Pakistan for its failure to curb anti-terror financing. 

The fateful decision was taken at the FATF plenary session in Paris where the caretaker finance minister Shamshad Akhtar represented Pakistan, according to official sources. Pakistan tried to avert the decision by submitting a 26-point action plan and launching a concerted diplomatic campaign. The FATF had only been waiting for Pakistan's action plan before going ahead with the listing.

The FATF had earlier put Pakistan on its "grey list" between 2012 and 2015 (for 3 years in total). The country managed to grow its economy during this period and raised money on international bond markets, even depreciated its currency, to counter economic pressure, which included widening deficits and declining foreign-exchange reserves.

In February 2018, United States (U.S.) tabled a motion to reintroduce Pakistan to the FATF watchlist as ties fray over US accusations that Islamabad is providing safe haven to militants. The motion was backed by the United Kingdom (U.K.), France, and Germany. Pakistan scrambled a team to plead its case, led by Pakistan's Director-General Financial Monitoring Unit Syed Mansoor Shah and Advisor to Pakistan's Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Miftah Ismail. After holding six-day-long plenary meetings, FATF gave Islamabad a three-month reprieve.

Following the decision at the February plenary meeting, Pakistan was asked to prepare an action plan to address the FATF’s concerns. The plan was completed following negotiations between Pakistan and FATF members, and Islamabad will work "towards effective implementation of the action plan while staying in the grey list", an official said.

Pakistan will have to deliver on the first goal under the action plan by next January and complete all 26 actions points by September 2019.

On June 29, 2018, FATF handed 10-point elaborated action plan to Pakistan for compliance with its guidelines. Pakistan’s failure in implementing the elaborate action plan may result in it being included in the blacklist the next year. 

Also, Pakistan has been instructed to take measures demonstrating that UN-designated terrorists and banned terror outfits such as Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, Taliban and Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and their affiliates, are deprived of their resources and their sources of funding are choked.

The 10-point "elaborated action plan" to Pakistan as follows; 

(1) demonstrating that Terrorist Financing (TF) risks are properly identified, assessed, and that supervision is applied on a risk-sensitive basis; 

(2) demonstrating that remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of anti-money laundering (AML)/combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) violations and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions; 

(3) demonstrating that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS)

(4) demonstrating that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on the illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for TF; 

(5) improving inter-agency coordination including between provincial and federal authorities on combating TF risks; 

(6) demonstrating that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities; 

(7) demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and enhancing the capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary; and 

(8) demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services; 

(9) demonstrating enforcement against TFS violations including administrative and criminal penalties and provincial and federal authorities cooperating on enforcement cases; 

(10) demonstrating that facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.


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GLOBAL REACTIONS


INDIA

"We hope that the FATF Action plan shall be complied with in a time-bound manner and credible measures would be taken by Pakistan to address global concerns related to terrorism emanating from any territory under its control," India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

CHINA

"We will not make comment on the decision of the task force. But we understand Pakistan has made enormous efforts for the counter-terrorism and made great sacrifices," Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China spokesman Lu Kang said at a media briefing on July 29, 2018, when asked about the FATF’s decision. "The international community should view Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts in an objective and impartial way and give Pakistan more recognition and support so as to promote the international counter-terrorism cooperation in a more effective way.," he said.

Latest Development: On June 30, 2018, China gave Pakistan $1 billion to boost the latter’s plummeting foreign currency reserves, amid growing speculation of another International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout. This loan to Pakistan has come at a time when the country has been put in FATF greylist.

UNITED STATES

"Pakistan has outstanding counterterrorism financing (CFT) deficiencies consistently raised by the FATF," a U.S. State Department Spokesperson gave a remark two days after FATF's decision. 

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Since 1989, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has been at the forefront of international efforts to fight money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). It is an intergovernmental organization founded on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. In 2001 its mandate expanded to include terrorism financing. It has 37 members, including two institutions, the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council. In addition, it has two observers and nine associate members, which are primarily regional organizations. Do note, FATF "has no investigative authority." FAFT works with nation-states to bring legislative changes and regulatory reforms in aforementioned sectors.