New Combat Financing Terrorism Units to be established across the country

New Combat Financing Terrorism Units to be established across the country

ISLAMABAD: The government plans to establish fully trained and equipped Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) units at respective federal and provincial departments to improve inter-agency coordination.

The CFT units would investigate money laundering, terror financing besides asset tracking and financial investigation.

As per National Internal Security Policy 2018-2023, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, provide strict laws in Pakistan against financing of terrorism. Steps are being taken to improve enforcement of these laws by establishing an effective CFT regime in the country with investigative, analytic, deterrent and preventive roles.

The policy document while listing the steps reveals that specialized training will be provided to prosecution and judicial branches of criminal justice system to improve conviction rate while a National Task Force on Choking Terrorism – a coordinating body of over 20 federal and provincial organizations – has already been established to improve inter-agency coordination in this regard.

Moreover, stringent controls on cross-border movement of money and branchless/internet banking have been enforced in collaboration with Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) at State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The FMU has already prepared its own AML-CFT (Anti Money Laundering-Combating Financing of Terrorism) strategy in this regard.

Highlighting some other steps to be taken on an urgent basis for further enhancing CFT capability, the document said that Facilitation and Regulation of Charities Act will be enacted to ensure that every penny donated into charity in the country is accounted for. The existing laws will be reviewed and amended where necessary to bring them at par with international standards.

An international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) policy has already been enforced by the Ministry of Interior to regulate registration, working, funding, monitoring and other related aspects pertaining to all types of INGOs functioning in Pakistan. All necessary steps will also be taken to implement international agreements with regard to acting on funding sources of terrorism and proscribed organizations.

Regional and international collaboration in tackling militant networks will be enhanced. Efforts will also be made to enforce an arms embargo, impose travel restrictions, freeze movable and immovable property and curtail fund raising ability of proscribed organizations. Meanwhile, modern technology data will be leveraged to improve processes, enhance efficiency and effectiveness, increase transparency and institutionalize new ways of delivering public services.

The Integrated Border Management System, Safe City project and bio-metric SIM registration systems are successful examples of using information technology to achieve these objectives. New initiatives will also be launched along the same lines.

Under the policy, a number of information systems will be developed and deployed. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will be empowered to take a lead on development/implementations of these systems.

These include an information system proposed under criminal justice system reforms, Pakistan visa processing system designed to streamline visa application, national centralized vehicle database and national criminal database and fingerprint identification system.

It has also been envisaged in the policy that a National Cyber Security Strategy will be developed to secure services and infrastructure from cyber attacks. A combined civil-military cyber command force will be established to ensure intra- and inter-agency coordination.

Cybercrimes Wing at Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Cyber Security Wing at National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) will be strengthened and their capacity enhanced to curb cybercrimes in collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Public campaigns will be launched to promote awareness about cyber security threats.