With a little more than a month to go for a review of Pakistan’s counter-terror financing regime by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Islamabad has put measures in place to ensure such offences are investigated by specialised agencies.
However, experts believe the steps taken by Pakistan may still not be adequate for the country to get off the multilateral watchdog’s “grey list”, given the lingering suspicions about its commitment to crack down on terror groups. In this regard, the experts pointed to the UK’s recent decision to include Pakistan in a list of “high-risk countries” for terror financing and money laundering.
At its last plenary meeting in February, FATF retained Pakistan in its “grey list” and urged the country to complete an action plan to counter terror financing before June. It said the country had “largely addressed” 24 of the 27 items in the action plan, but FATF president Marcus Pleyer pointed out the remaining deficiencies were all “serious”.
FATF had specifically asked Pakistan to show that terror financing investigations and prosecutions were targeting UN-designated terrorists and their proxies, that prosecutions were resulting in effective and dissuasive sanctions, and that targeted financial sanctions against UN-designated terrorists and their proxies were being effectively implemented.
Ahead of FATF’s virtual plenary meeting during June 21-25, the Pakistan government has approved new rules for the forfeiture and auction of properties and assets related to anti-money laundering cases and the transfer of investigation and prosecution of such cases from police and provincial authorities to specialised agencies.