APG not satisfied with Pak steps to block banned groups funding

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ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has expressed serious reservations over insufficient physical actions on ground against proscribed organisations (POs) to block flow of funds and activities and is likely to issue a formal warning before its departure on Thursday (today).

“The crux of first two days of interactions is that they (APG) consider us very good on paper — legislation, regulation, data collection and notifications — mostly involving the federal government, but highly non-performing at provincial and district levels where such POs and non-profit organisations (NPOs) actually operate,” a senior official told Dawn.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a High Level Meeting at PM Office Islamabad on March 27, 2019

The APG delegation is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan for mutual evaluation as part of second country risk assessment report and would conclude its assessment on Thursday (today). Authorities of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Financial Monitoring Unit, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, ministries of foreign affairs and interior, National Counter Terrorism Authority, Federal Investigation Agency and Counter Terrorism Departments of the provinces participated in the two-day interaction.

The official said the situation was such that Finance Minister Asad Umar had directed the newly appointed finance secretary to give top priority to ‘problem areas’ in consultation with the federal and provincial agencies and plug deficiencies so that a robust report could be submitted to the FATF by third week of April. This followed a joint commitment of the civil and military leadership in recent meetings that all institutions had to put their act together to get the country out of the FATF’s grey list.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting that deliberated on critical national security issues including implementation of the Finance Action Task Force (FATF) action plan and the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Director General Inter Services Intelligence Lt. Gen Asim Munir, Director General ISPR Majo Gen Asif Ghafoor and other senior officials, besides ministers of finance and education, minister of state for interior, secretaries of foreign and interior affairs, and other senior officials.

A statement issued after the meeting said that security matters were discussed but it did not present any elaboration. However, according to official sources, the focus of the meeting was largely on the internal security wherein the progress on the implementation of FATF action plan against money laundering and ongoing operation against the proscribed organisations under National Action Plan (NAP) were reviewed.

The meeting follows an important visit of a Asia Pacific Group (APG) delegation which arrived on Monday to assess progress Pakistan made on implementation of global standards against financial crimes to warrant country’s exclusion from the FATF grey list.