Now Reading: “Robust” Progress Made by Pakistan on the FATF Action Plan
On Thursday, the 16th meeting of the National Executive Committee( NEC) on Anti- Money Laundering (AML) was held which was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue – Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Director General of the Financial Management Unit (FMU) briefed the attendees on the progress of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action plan, aside from giving an update on meeting with the joint group face-to-face in the current month.
The FMU DG informed that Pakistan has demonstrated “robust progress” in the completion of its International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) Action Plan, despite the countless challenges it had to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The attendees were further told that the country’s authorities had made amendments to 15 of its laws in order to address the shortcomings it had, as per the FATF along with the recommended actions of its Asia Pacific Group.
In the meeting, new guidelines were also given approval to improve the capabilities of the country’s law enforcement agencies in conducting investigations and prosecuting money laundering cases. Furthermore, rules regarding Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) and Pakistan Post were given the nod which would later be formally approved by the Federal Government. Follow-up actions based on amendments to the AML Act 2010 were also discussed in said meeting.
Pakistan’s Strategy to get out of FATF’s Grey List
Back in June 2018, Pakistan was placed on the grey list of the FATF. The FATF had then asked Pakistan to implement its action plan by the end of 2019. Though, this deadline was later extended because of the coronavirus pandemic along with delay on part of the country to meet the plan’s requirements.
Recently, the country’s parliament has made the required changes to its legislation that would steer it out of the FATF grey list. At a joint sitting of the two houses, three bills have been passed in this regard. Aimed at streamlining the existing anti money laundering law in line with international standards prescribed by the FATF, the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed.
Moreover, the Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill has included Section 19-C in the law regarding the application of investigative techniques. With this, spying powers have been given to the investigators, allowing them to conduct undercover operations along with intercepting communication and accessing computer systems, with the permission of court of course.
Lastly, aiming to properly manage, supervise and administer the waqf properties in the territorial limits of ICT, the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020 was passed.