FATF’s Sword of Damocles Nonetheless Hanging over Pakistan

Monetary Motion Activity Power (FATF) on June 17, this 12 months cleared Pakistan’s path to…

Monetary Motion Activity Power (FATF) on June 17, this 12 months cleared Pakistan’s path to get off from the gray checklist. It mentioned that the nation has accomplished its two concurrent motion plans and met all 34 gadgets. The worldwide watchdog will now schedule an on-site go to to confirm the implementation and sustainability of the nation’s cash laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures earlier than eradicating it from the gray checklist.

On this respect, Pakistan’s high officers elaborated that Islamabad will submit its progress report within the first week of July [2022] to the FATF. Then, the FATF’s inspection crew will then make on-site go to in September 2022 and maintain conferences with related authorities departments. The crew will submit its report back to the FATF and on the premise of the report, the FATF will announce the choice of maintaining or eradicating Pakistan from the gray checklist, and resulting in white itemizing within the subsequent plenary, doubtless in October this 12 months.

However, Pakistan delegation, which attended the FATF plenary conferences in Berlin, was led by Minister of State for International Affairs-member of Pakistan Peoples Social gathering (PPP) Hina Rabbani Khar who congratulated the nation, saying the worldwide group had unanimously acknowledged the nation’s efforts. She added: “Our success is the results of 4 years [2018 and 2021] of a difficult journey”.

Director Basic of Inter-Providers Public Relations (ISPR) Main-Gen.Babar Iftikhar identified on June 17, 2022: “Completion of FATF AML/CFT motion plans by Pakistan is a good achievement…Chief of Military Employees Basic Qamar Javed Bajwa mentioned that the Core Cell established on the Basic Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, along with civil and army crew, made Pakistan proud by efficiently finishing motion plan of the Monetary Motion Activity Power.”

Whereas congratulating one another, the Prime Minister Shahbez Sharif of PML-N and PPP’s high leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, together with their different leaders appreciated their coalition authorities relating to completion of the FATF motion plan, which resulted into its optimistic verdict.

And ex-Prime Minister Minister-PTI Chairman Imran Khan and former PTI cupboard members claimed credit score for the event about Pakistan’s doable exit from the gray checklist.

Misunderstanding the watchdog’s verdict, a number of entities from the PTI, PML-N, PPP and journalists posted on social media indicated that the FATF eliminated Pakistan from the gray checklist. Info Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb known as for an finish to speculations concerning the plenary session’s outcomes, terming them inappropriate.

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Hina Rabbani Khar talked about the necessity for warning, prejudging the end result, including that speculative reporting must be averted. She mentioned that the incumbent authorities was “prepared to share credit score…because the motion plan was carried out over a number of years. She acknowledged: “If I’ll give credit score to anybody…I imply…state of Pakistan.

Khar added: “Let’s not be overly celebratory proper now. The method has began and the on-site go to is due, and even after that our journey will proceed, the strengthening of laws and administration will proceed.”

As regards the FATF, it was fashioned in 1989 by the G7 Summit in Paris to fight the rising downside of cash laundering, monitoring legislative, monetary and regulation enforcement actions taken on the nationwide and worldwide stage, reporting on compliance, and issuing suggestions.

The organisation’s mandate was expanded to incorporate terrorist financing following the September 11 terror assaults within the US in 2001.

Nonetheless, after holding the plenary conferences just about from February 22-25, 2021 in Paris, the FATF saved Pakistan on the gray checklist for an additional prolonged interval until June 2021 and requested for complying with the remaining three factors of 27 motion plan to focus on on Anti-Cash Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.

FATF’s three remaining calls for included (1) TF [terror financing] investigations and prosecutions of goal individuals and entities (2) TF prosecutions end in efficient, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and (3) efficient implementation of focused monetary sanctions TFS [terror financing sanctions) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists, specifically those acting for or on their behalf.

In fact, active Indian lobbying and propaganda campaign to blacklist Pakistan failed, while a minimum of three votes by FATF members are required to avoid the blacklist and Islamabad enjoyed the unwavering support of Malaysia, its all-weather friend China and some other country.

Diplomatic sources suggest that China and some other allies were quietly working to get Pakistan off the grey list during the latest plenary session.

Some pro-Indian European countries, especially France and Germany had recommended to the FATF to maintain Pakistan on the gray checklist, saying that not all factors had been totally applied by Islamabad.

In 2021, the then PTI-led government got three laws—the Anti-Money Laundering (second amendment) Bill-2020, Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) (third amendment) Bill-2020, and Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill-2020, which were passed in the joint sitting of Parliament.

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Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies had cracked down on many hardliner-religious groups particularly Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its welfare arms, Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insanyat—and on their sources of income, arresting, trying, and convicting several of their members and leaders.

Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list since June 2018, while some Western countries and especially India have been calling on Islamabad to take action against the terror groups to avoid ‘Dark Gray’ list status of the watchdog. They have long failed to do. Indian media spreads disinformation that Pakistan may be put on ‘Dark Grey’ list.

For years, New Delhi has been, also accusing Pakistan of using the banking system to sponsor terrorism.

On the other side, involvement of Indian banks in money laundering and financing terrorism has been exposed. In this connection, on September 27, 2020, a report of the top-secret files of the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) which works to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and financial fraud revealed the “involvement of Indian banks, including the state-owned banks in money laundering through transactions used in facilitating and financing acts of terrorism, particularly in the region…the entities and individuals were involved in money laundering of $1.53 billion through 3,201 illegal and suspicious transactions between 2011 and 2017.”

There are also reports that gold and diamond were also used for money laundering, while Indian Premier League (cricket tournament) has also been pointed out by the Indian judiciary for money laundering practices.

Notably, India’s financial crime fighting agency-the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi-the opposition leader on June 1, this year in relation to money laundering investigation. Afterwards, investigators questioned Rahul Gandhi in this regard.

It is mentionable that in November, 2020 at a joint press conference and a joint press briefing, DG of ISPR Major-General Babar Iftikhar and the then Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi unveiled a dossier containing “irrefutable evidence” of India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram handed over the dossier to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

In its 27th report, dated February 3, 2021 and the 28th report, published in the recent past, the UN Security Council’s monitoring team for tracking terrorist groups confirmed Pakistan’s dossier. The reports focused on the global threat posed by Al-Qaeda, Daesh and their linked groups—drew attention to the increasing cross-border terrorist threat to Pakistan from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP], working from Afghan soil. In its new report on Might 28, 2022, it as soon as once more highlighted the menace by the TTP which has performed quite a few lethal “cross-border” assaults and operations in Pakistan.

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Pakistan’s Armed Forces displayed unbelievable progress via the assorted army operations—Zarb-e-Azb (Sharp and Reducing strike) and Radd-ul-Fasaad (Elimination of Strife) which began in opposition to the militants in North Waziristan Company and afterwards prolonged to different tribal areas, have virtually achieved their targets.

Notably, Military and nation’s major intelligence company ISI have damaged the spine of the TTP and different banned terror-groups similar to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Khorasan (IS-Ok), the Balochistan Liberation Military (BLA) and their linked outfits which claimed many terrorism associated assaults in Pakistan. Peace has been restored in varied susceptible areas of Pakistan. Now, there are uncommon circumstances of terror-assaults within the nation.

Though FATF’s member-countries are the US and different Western international locations, together with many Islamic states, but choices of the US-led main Western international locations prevail on the organisation.

Undoubtedly, twin coverage of the FATF is kind of apparent. Regardless of implementation of the numerous suggestions, FATF has turn into a software of maintaining strain on Islamabad, whereas ignoring New Delhi.

Nonetheless, the financial consultants opined that international investments and commerce would come to the nation as soon as nation’s title is faraway from the FATF’s gray checklist.

It’s notable that in the course of the website go to, crew of the FATF can increase the query that as to why the incumbent authorities amended the regulation, pertaining to Nationwide Accountability Bureau (NAB) of their favour.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on June 20, this 12 months remarked that the Nationwide Accountability (Modification) Invoice 2022 would assist the corrupt rulers to get one other ‘NRO’. He additionally determined to problem it within the Supreme Courtroom.

We could conclude that FATF’s Sword of Damocles remains to be hanging over Pakistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on worldwide affairs and is creator of the e book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Steadiness of Energy: Harmful Shift in Worldwide Relations

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