Pakistan gets a strong alert from Financial Action Task Force to avert tough sanctions

Pakistan gets a strong alert from Financial Action Task Force to avert tough sanctions

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has alerted Pakistan to take concrete steps against groups allegedly linked to Hafiz Saeed to avert possible tough sanctions in June this year.

Pakistan submitted its action plan with the FATF’s Asia Pacific group in a meeting held in Bangkok earlier this week but global body expressed its dissatisfaction, raising objections to take concrete steps against LET, JuD and FIF proscribed by the UN Security Council, revealed one of senior officials who attended this important meeting.

The Bangkok meet asked Pakistan to put a new comprehensive action plan within two weeks, alerting that the country might end up on the blacklist of the countries’ failing to prevent terror financing, he added.

“Yes, FATF seeks new comprehensive action plan from Pakistan,” confirmed Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. “This plan would be submitted with global terror financing watchdog between June 8 and 11,” he told this correspondent on Friday.

They want us to go hard on the LeT, JuD and FIF and other proscribed organisations, the finance minister said that the watchdog wanted comprehensive measures to curb terror financing of such militant groups, he said. “Pakistan’s new action plan would be discussed in Paris meet on June 23,” Finance Minister Miftah Ismail added.

The government submitted its action plan on April 25 in response to FATF’s warning to put Pakistan on countries’ grey-list in February this year, informed officials said. “If the country’s new action plan on fighting terrorism financing does not deliver in June 23 Paris meet, Pakistan may be put on FATF’s black-list which would unnerve the country’s economy,” added one of senior officials who was engaged in preparing Pakistan’s response at Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A high-powered delegation was sent to Bangkok for briefing the forum about the steps taken by Islamabad against money laundering and terror financing.

“We presented our point of view before all the stakeholders as a last-ditch effort to avoid falling into the grey list by next month — but we were asked to come up with new comprehensive plan, official revealed that “we informed stakeholders that the Finance Bill 2018 and some other piece of laws helped the country to curb money laundering under mutual assistance agreement with OECD and other bilateral countries.”

In its response, Pakistani informed officials said that counterterrorism authorities have launched massive crackdown on three entities linked to Hafiz Muhammad Saeed by freezing their property worth around a million dollars and taking several other serious measures to block their funding.