The fear of being black listed
The government will have to pass amendments into Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Foreign Exchange Regulation laws from the Parliament for complying with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions.
The FATF has extended deadline for Pakistan till next plenary meeting expected to be held in October 2020. The government is working on bringing these changes into different laws and the pending legislation bills would be pursued vigorously. The FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and placed 27 conditions for review for complying in one year, till Sept 2019. Pakistan so far has been given three extensions of three months each, every time to comply with 27-point action plans. Out of the 27-point action plan, the FATF had so far declared Pakistan fully compliant on 14 points and now there is a deadline of September/October 2020 for complying on the remaining 13 points in a bid to ensure exit from the grey list of the watchdog. According to the list of remaining 13 points of 27 action plan (1) Pakistan will have to demonstrate effectiveness of sanctions including remedial actions to curb terrorist financing in the country; (2) Pakistan will have to ensure improved effectiveness for terror financing of financial institutions with particular to banned outfits; (3) Pakistan will have to take actions against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS) such as hundi-hawala; (4) Pakistan will have to place sanction regime against cash couriers; (5) Pakistan will have to ensure logical conclusion from ongoing terror financing investigation of law enforcing agencies (LEAs) against banned outfits and proscribed persons; (6) Pakistani authorities will have to ensure international cooperation based investigations and convictions against banned organizations (list provided to Pakistan) and proscribed persons (list provided to Pakistan); (7) The country will have to place effective domestic cooperation between Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and LEAs in investigation of terror financing; (8) Prosecution of banned outfits and proscribed persons (list provided to Pakistan); (9) Demonstrate convictions from court of law of banned outfits and proscribed persons (list provided to Pakistan); (10) Seizure of properties of banned outfits and proscribed persons (list provided to Pakistan); (11) Conversion of madrassas to schools and health units into official formations (list provided to Pakistan); (12) To cut off funding of banned outfits and proscribed persons; and (13) Pakistan will have to place permanent mechanism for management of properties and assets owned by the banned outfits and proscribed persons (list provided to Pakistan). Given the ramshackle economy of Pakistan, it is indispensable for the Pakistani government to fight Pakistan’s case firmly with a view to put the country in FATF’s white list otherwise, it will have severe economic implications on Pakistan’s dwindling economy. Although Pakistan has taken meaningful measures on the recommendations of FATF like stopping terror funding, anti money laundering drive, and foremost banning militants organizations, which were the unequivocal manifestation of Pakistan’s sincere efforts. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday warned that the opposition will be responsible if the country is placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s blacklist and the economy collapses. He further added that the economic destruction will be exactly as India wants”. Notwithstanding the unscrupulous agendas of Pakistan’s arch-foe India to blacklist Pakistan in FAFT, Pakistan remained succeeded to counter India’s canard arguments. Now the role of opposition is utmost significant as prime minister warned that the repercussions of the blacklisting would be “horrendous” and Pakistan could face same economic conditions as Iran is witnessing. Therefore, opposition parties must extend their countenance for the FATF bills irrespective of their political differences.