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.


Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

Updated 33 min 35 sec ago
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Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

  • Philippines being investigated for extrajudicial killings
  • Anti-drug campaign signature policy of president

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he wanted to finish his war on drugs in three years, defying an international probe into his controversial and deadly campaign to rid the country of narcotics.
Duterte, who came to power in 2016, has made a ‘war on drugs’ the hallmark of his administration. 
But it has been reported that 20,000 people have been killed in what rights groups call a wave of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The firebrand president remains unfazed by the condemnation, and the cases filed against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his crackdown.
He insisted he would assume full responsibility for any consequences due to his decision to enforce the law, telling a military audience his goals.
“I’d like to finish this war, both (with the) Abu Sayyaf (a militant group) and also the communists, and the drug problem in about three years … we'd be able (to) ... reduce the activities of the illegal trade and fighting to the barest minimum.
“I’m not saying I am the only one capable (of achieving these goals) ... I assume full responsibility for all that would happen as a consequence of enforcing the law — whether against the criminals, the drug traffickers or the rebels who’d want to destroy government.”
Earlier this month, the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, citing the global body's interference in how the country was run as the reason.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would continue despite its exit.
But the government has said it will not cooperate with the ICC, and has even warned its personnel about entering the country for the investigation.
There are Filipinos who support Duterte’s campaign, however, and believe it works. Among them is former policeman Eric Advincula.
He said there had been an improvement in the situation since Duterte came to power. 
“For one, the peace and order situation has improved, like for example in villages near our place where there used to be rampant drug peddling,” he told Arab News. 
“The price of illegal drugs is now higher, an indication that the supply also went down. Also, it was easy to catch drug peddlers before because they were doing their trade openly. But now they are more careful, you can't easily locate them.”
Official data from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in February indicated that 5,176 ‘drug personalities’ were killed in the anti-drugs war between July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2019.
More than 170,000 drug suspects have been arrested during a total of 119,841 anti-narcotics operations in the last two and a half years.