Pakistan submits reply to FATF queries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan submitted a report comprising answers to 22 questions to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), officials said on Friday.
The report details Pakistan’s actions against the groups the United Nations has listed as terrorist organisations as well as sentences handed to them by the courts.
Prepared by the representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, and finance, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Financial Monitoring Unit, State Bank of Pakistan, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the Pakistan Army, the report further notes that common people who worked in groups the UN listed as terrorist organisations were provided alternative employment, while the control of some 113 madrassas has been handed over to the federal government. The said madrassas were now working under the relevant assistant commissioners, whereas the teachers and students in those institutions had been provided a two-year budget.
According to the report, investigations into the sponsors and facilitators funding the terrorist activities, as well as methodologies of the SBP and the FIA to stop terrorism-financing in future, have been explained. A process to halt hundi-hawala and currency smuggling has been set up as well. Nevertheless, a system to regulate jewellery and real estate businesses, as well as lawyers’ fees from petitioners, could not be set up. The FATF, consequent to Pakistan’s responses, would schedule a meeting in Beijing, China, on January 21 to prepare follow-up conditions. Should there be any further questions from the money-laundering and terrorism financing watchdog, Islamabad was obligated to respond before December 20.
However, a categorical decision to remove Pakistan from the FATF’s grey list would be taken during a February 2020 plenary review meeting in Paris, France.
Earlier, the FATF had asked 27 questions pertaining to Pakistan’s efforts to stop terrorism financing, with Islamabad already having satisfied the body over five of them. At the time, Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar had said Pakistan submitted its compliance report to the FATF to show its efforts to change anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws. Azhar, who is also team leader of the country on FATF, had said: “There will be a response from them and then (there will be) face-to-face meeting.”
Islamabad was hoping that the watchdog extended the current deadline to comply with 27 action plans from February to June next year as the current deadline is too short. However, sources said the FATF had already granted an extension till February 2020 in a meeting held in October this year. The task force, which kept the country in the grey list for an extended period till February 2020, had warned in the previous meeting that Islamabad would be put on the blacklist if it did not comply with the remaining 22 points.