Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Pakistan gets new constraints from FATF to curb financial crimes

ISLAMABAD (DNA) – The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has handed over Pakistan its agenda afresh for an action plan in compliance with the recommendations on global standards against financial crimes to warrant Pakistan’s exclusion from its grey list.Reportedly, the finance ministry has received the recommendations which require documentation of all Sarafa (gold) markets in the country, restriction on sale and purchase of gold items using cash and instead payment must be made with a bank card, and collection of data of gold buyers.The recommendations further demand Pakistan to ensure restriction on supply of gold and jewelry to the banned outfits and terrorist organisations.Another demand includes collection of data of all registered trust organisations at each district level and regulation of [thousands of] registered trust organisations, and establishment of its district-level regulation system on an immediate basis.Furthermore, the recommendations require collection of details of accounts of all trust organisations at a district-level.Besides, Pakistan will present an implementation report on its action plan to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on April 15, the third of four such reports to be presented to the global financial watchdog before its review of Islamabad’s performance in June, 2019.According to sources, the finance, interior and foreign ministries, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) have been working on the FATF action plan.The government, according to the sources, has also set up four working groups to ensure the implementation of the action plan. The FATF has strictly demanded restrictions on funding of banned outfits.It has advised the authorities to freeze accounts of the terror outfits and seize their assets. It has also advised implementation of anti-money laundering laws and strict vigilance of the financial institutions as well as measures for public awareness.The next meeting will be crucial, as Islamabad will be scrutinised for its performance related to key recommendations of the FATF and Pakistan will have to demonstrate action on ground against the proscribed outfits to curb the terror financing front.The watchdog will review Pakistan’s overall progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from its grey list.