June 11, 2020 6:27:31 pm
Pakistan has proscribed two main and 11 affiliated organisations and frozen their 976 movable and immovable properties in the last 20 months, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah has said, ahead of a new round of assessments by the FATF of the country’s performance in meeting international commitments in the fight against money laundering and terror financing.
Pakistan is currently placed on the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’. Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations, a measure that officials here fear could hurt its economy, which is already under severe strain.
The Express Tribune reported that Shah in a meeting on Wednesday presented a report to Prime Minister Imran Khan on the performance of his ministry and its various departments in the last 20 months “from August 2018 to April 2020”.
The report listed the ministry’s achievements, including “implementing the majority of the FATF requirements”, reported the paper.
“Despite the challenges of the task assigned and concerns about internal security, the ministry was able to deliver by meeting the majority of the requirements of the FATF and taking some kinetic and non-kinetic measures including legislative amendments,” the report said.
Noting the ministry’s achievements, the report stated that the ministry proscribed two main and 11 affiliated organisations as well as froze 976 movable and immovable properties of proscribed outfits. The names of the banned organisations were not mentioned by the newspaper report.
Without mentioning the total number, it said, the ministry took over schools, colleges, hospitals, dispensaries, ambulances etc, of the proscribed organisations into government’s control.
Conviction of 200 plus main individuals and supporters, as well as recovery of funds amounting to Rs 2,400 million for the management of taken over facilities, were also listed as achievements in the report.
It said amendments in Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (ATA) were made in line with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Act, adding that the ministry completed scrutiny of 4th schedule list, divided the 4th schedulers into 3 categories and formed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their management.
“The ministry worked on the preparation of asset freezing rules to regulate the freezing of assets. It introduced Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) law and a total of 84 MLA requests were sent to foreign countries for provision of information and response to all the MLA requests of 2019-20.”
The FATF formally placed Pakistan in its grey list in June 2018, asserting that the country has failed to take necessary measures against terror financing on its soil.
The global body gave the country 15-month-time to implement its 27-point action plan.
In October 2019, the Paris-baed organisation gave four more months to Islamabad to avoid its blacklist that could result in a freeze of capital flows to the country and slow progress in refinancing and re-profiling loans from major bilateral creditors.
On February 21, 2020, the global financial watchdog decided not to blacklist Pakistan and gave it four more months till end June to complete its action plan as a “vast majority of FATF members recognised Islamabad’s enormous efforts to improve its counter-terror financing regime”.
The FATF is again expected to evaluate Pakistan’s progress this month, earlier reports said
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