Pakistan establishes ‘high-powered’ mechanism to implement plan against financing terror

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 30 June 2018

Pakistan establishes ‘high-powered’ mechanism to implement plan against financing terror

  • The global watchdog also said on Friday that Pakistan has developed an action plan with the FATF to address “the most serious deficiencies”
  • Pakistan is damaging its reputation among the international community by lifting bans on outlawed outfits and allowing them to contest elections

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has set up a high-powered mechanism to ensure implementation of a 10-point action plan set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday after the placement of Pakistan on the terror-financing watch-list.
“The government is putting in place a strategy to implement the action plan in the next 15 months,” the Ministry of Finance told Arab News on Saturday.
“Given the complexity and size of the action plan, the Minister for Finance has established a high-powered, inclusive and robust institutional coordination and monitoring mechanism to ensure that the action plan is implemented within time and the country is brought out of FATF’s Public Statement the soonest,” the ministry said in a statement.
The FATF – an inter-governmental body that monitors terrorism financing and money laundering – held its plenary meeting in Paris on June 24-29 to discuss issues relating to security and integrity of global financial systems.
“The FATF plenary approved the action plan for Pakistan and placed Pakistan on its Public Statement in the Ongoing Compliance section,” the ministry confirmed to Arab News.
The global watchdog also said on Friday that Pakistan has developed an action plan with the FATF to address “the most serious deficiencies.”
The 10-point action plan set by the FATF for Pakistan emphasizes that the country must properly identify the risk of terrorist-financing, ensure the application of remedial actions in cases of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing violations, take action against illegal money or value transfer services, enforce controls on  movement of currency and improve inter-agency coordination.
The action plan further says Pakistani law enforcement agencies must properly investigate terrorist-financing activities, ensure the prosecution and conviction of relevant persons or entities, ensure the implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all proscribed outfits and ensure facilities and services owned or controlled by designated persons are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.
On Saturday, Pakistan’s Caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar reiterated the government’s strong resolve to strengthen measures against terrorism and terrorism-financing, an official statement released by the finance division said. 
Akhtar emphasized that Pakistan was steadfast in upgrading the anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism standards and ensuring their enforcement. 
“This opportunity was instrumental in ensuring Pakistan’s commitment to the world for compliance to international standards and increasing the effectiveness of regulatory and enforcement regimes for its own benefit,” the statement added. 
Khawaja Khalid Farooq, ex-chief of the National Counter Terrorism Authority, said the situation with respect to terrorism financing and money laundering has improved a lot compared with the period  when Pakistan remained on the FATF’s watch-list.
“Now placement of Pakistan on the gray list is a result of a political move sponsored and lobbied by America and India,” he told Arab News.
Farooq, however, admitted weaknesses in the country’s investigation and prosecution system with respect to terrorism financing and money laundering and urged the authorities to improve them.
“Pakistan is damaging its reputation among the international community by lifting bans on outlawed outfits and allowing them to contest elections. We need to handle these issues carefully,” he added.
Economists suggest the government devises short-term and long-term strategies to deal with looming negative economic impact and ensures implementation of the action plan within the given time.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, joint executive director at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, said the top officials from the Ministry of Finance should immediately take the financial sector into confidence over the placement of Pakistan on the gray list to address uncertainty in the capital and stock markets.
“The government should constitute a working group of experts which could recommend plausible steps within one month to plug loopholes in our banking and financial systems in the long term,” he told Arab News.
Ahmed said the government should also focus on improving its diplomacy as Pakistan will again need at least three votes in the 37-member FATF to be off the gray list.
"Pakistan needs to address apprehensions of friendly countries, especially Saudi Arabia and China, on its financial system to get their votes next time,” Ahmed added.


Greece to expel Libyan ambassador over Turkey-Libya accord

Updated 06 December 2019

Greece to expel Libyan ambassador over Turkey-Libya accord

  • Mohamed Younis AB Menfi had 72 hours to leave the country
  • The Greek FM called the Turkey-Libyan accord a ‘blatant violation of international law’

ATHENS: Greece on Friday said it was expelling the Libyan ambassador to the country, angered at an accord signed on Nov. 27 between Libya and Turkey mapping out a sea boundary between the two countries close to Crete.
Mohamed Younis AB Menfi had 72 hours to leave the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told a news briefing. Dendias called the Turkey-Libyan accord a ‘blatant violation of international law’.