FATF’s clear and present danger / EDITORIAL

Like a swimmer struggling in stormy seas, Pakistan is presently precariously poised on the top of the huge Financial Action Task Force wave, uncertain to which side it would fall when the money laundering and anti-terror financing monitor meets in Colombo (or some alternate venue) later this month, or whether it is safely heaved out of grey listing or rolled deeper into the deadly black list, with all its ominous implications. During the forthcoming FATF plenary, no doubt a tense face-to-face debate is on the cards with representatives of the government of Pakistan on the latest review of the 20 points of contention raised earlier by FATF, whose compliance report has since been delivered to them for scrutiny. Despite earnest rectification measures undertaken by Pakistan since January 2019 (the latest that of registering all theological seminaries with the Ministry of Education) to satisfy genuine concerns of the main movers of grey listing, the USA, UK and France, the whole matter has now unfortunately assumed, or been overshadowed by, political dimensions and overtones, with India, as co-chair of Asia Pacific Joint Group, being actively involved in evaluating and judging Pakistan’s case. Though the FATF cannot be accused of bowing to political pressure or taking decisions other than on tell-tale technical data, the BJP finance minister’s public threat of getting Pakistan blacklisted would, in case of an adverse decision, inevitably raise questions about the financial sentinel’s fairness, impartiality and ultimately, its very credibility.
Swiftly grasping the gravity of the situation and the high stakes involved for Pakistan, the incoming PM’s Finance Advisor, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, in a meeting held Monday to review progress on the FATF Action Plan, exhorted all the stakeholders, including concerned ministries, counter-terror departments, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to work round the clock for achieving, indeed surpassing, the desired objectives. Reportedly, the three crucial points on which FATF final decision hinges are, revised Terror Financing Risk Report prepared by National Counter-Terrorism Authority, Cash Courier Risk Report from FBR’S Customs Department and inter-agency coordination and commitment, particularly regarding banned outfits’ investigation and prosecution. A concurrent intense diplomatic offensive should also be launched to win over friendly FATF member states beforehand.

Source : https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/05/07/fatfs-clear-and-present-danger/?fbclid=IwAR3UH-n8Bqfplkp5CP1QSEz7NTZoOG4ZwrL66W2XroJH2VNkrkC5_iMOtCQ

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