Pakistan gets six more months to ‘fix’ anti-money laundering laws : Ministry of Finance

Pakistan has got six more months from the Asia Pacific Group - an arm of the FATF, to “fix” its anti-money laundering laws and take effective measures to curb terror financing and illegal remittances. (AFP/photo)
Updated 20 October 2018
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Pakistan gets six more months to ‘fix’ anti-money laundering laws : Ministry of Finance

  • APG will visit Pakistan in March-April next year for another on-site review
  • Traders say Pakistan can increase its annual remittances from $20 billion to $40 billion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has got six more months from the Asia Pacific Group (APG) — an arm of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — to “fix” its anti-money laundering laws and take effective measures to curb terror financing and illegal remittances.

“The APG delegation has pointed out lacunae in our different laws and we will plug them all soon through proper legislation,” Noor Ahmed, special secretary Ministry of Finance, told Arab News.
“Our institutions have explained their positions and actions taken so far to curb money laundering in their meetings with the APG delegation,” he said. “We have noted their recommendations as well.”
Pakistani officials, however, did not give details of what recommendations had been proposed by the APG delegation.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF “gray list” in June this year by the global watchdog in Paris after a review of the monitoring report of the International Cooperation Review Group.
This is the second visit by the FATF team in the past three months. In August, a FATF team visited Islamabad for a similar assessment.
Last week a Pakistani delegation also participated in an FATF meeting in Paris, to apprise the global watchdog about efforts to get off the “gray-list.”
Earlier, Pakistan and the FATF had also negotiated a 10-point action plan to be implemented by September 2019 to get off the gray list.
“We have got six more months to make our systems more robust and as per the international standard,” Saeed Javed, director general (media) of Finance Ministry, told Arab News.
He said that the APG would visit Pakistan in March-April next year for another on-site review and check the progress made in light of the group’s recommendations.
The FATF is an intergovernmental body established in July 1989 during a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Paris.
Its objectives are to set standards and promote the effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Dr. Farrukh Saleem, the government’s focal person on economy, earlier told Arab News that the government had finalized amendments in laws including the Federal Investigation Agency Act 1974, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947, the Customs Act 1969, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010, to strengthen its financial system.
“The amendments proposed in these laws will be presented to the prime minister and cabinet for approval,” he said.


Sri Lankan police hold alleged trainer of suicide bombers

Updated 5 min 33 sec ago
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Sri Lankan police hold alleged trainer of suicide bombers

  • Arrested Egyptian national living in Sri Lanka illegally for four years, police say
  • Eight countries promise help to combat terror, says leader

COLOMBO: An Egyptian man arrested north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Wednesday is alleged to have trained suicide bombers who carried out the Easter Sunday attacks on the island, investigators said. 
 
The 44-year-old Egyptian national was arrested in Madampe, a coastal town 40 km north of Colombo, following a tip-off.
 
Ruwan Gunasekera, a Colombo police spokesman, said that the man had been living illegally on the island without a passport or valid visa for more than four years.
 
Police are investigating whether the suspect trained the suicide bombers responsible for a wave of attacks on hotels and churches on the island that left more than 350 people dead and hundreds injured.
 
Eight of the nine suicide bombers have been identified by police, the spokesman said.
 
The names of the attackers were withheld because of security concerns. However, Arab News learned that among the nine were Mohammed Insaf and Mohammed Azaam Mohammed Mubarak, who struck the Shangri La Hotel.

State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene said that most of the suicide bombers were well educated and hailed from upper middle-class families. One of the bombers had studied in the UK and did his doctorate in Australia, he added.
 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Niluka Kudirgamuwa told Arab News on Wednesday that the bodies of 13 of the 36 foreigners killed in the bomb blasts have been repatriated. Fourteen foreign tourists are still missing.
 
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told foreign ambassadors on Tuesday that eight countries, including the US and Germany, have pledged technological and intelligence assistance to combat terror on the island.
 
He appealed to other countries to cooperate “in this fight against the menace of terrorism.”
 
The Sri Lankan leader said that law enforcement agencies had acted swiftly to identify and arrest those responsible for acts of terrorism.
 
Envoys who offered help included representatives of the UN and EU, and ambassadors of Germany, the US, Denmark, Norway and Pakistan.
 
Sirisena said that intelligence gained during the 30-year civil war on the island will be used in the fight against terrorism following the introduction of emergency powers.
 
A block on social media will be lifted by Thursday, he said. 
Meanwhile, Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith told Muslim foreign ambassadors and high commissioners who visited him to offer their condolences on Wednesday, that Muslims have successfully coexisted with other communities in the island for centuries.

Turkish Ambassador Tunca Ozcuhadar said the attack is neither communal nor political but was carried out by a group of misled youths who may have had some links with some extremist groups.