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SOURCE: HT

FATF’s regional group for Asia-Pacific has retained Pakistan in its ‘Enhanced Follow Up’ list due to the country’s poor compliance on terror financing and money laundering.

Pakistan fully complied with only two of the 40 recommendations of Financial Action Task Force, said the 14-page follow-up report from the Asia-Pacific Group (APG)?released on Monday ahead of the FATF plenary on October 21-23. That meeting will decide if Pakistan should be retained on the Paris-based watchdog’s ‘grey list’.

Based on its review until February this year, the APG noted that Pakistan was non-compliant on four counts, partially complied with 24 recommendations, and was largely compliant on nine.

“Whilst Pakistan published a National Risk Assessment (NRA) on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in 2017, the mutual evaluation report (MER) identified gaps in the process of developing and identifying threats, vulnerabilities and risks. The assessment of terrorist-financing risk was identified as ‘perfunctory only’,” the APG report said.

“The MER also found that the 2017 NRA had not yet been widely circulated to private sector stakeholders and that sectors assessed as higher risk or higher vulnerability in Pakistan were not yet subject to comprehensive Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) measures.”

Pakistan will remain in “enhanced (expedited) follow-up” and will have to “continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures,” it added.

Ahead of the crucial FATF meeting, Islamabad is reaching out to friendly FATF member states to seek their support, local media reported.

Over the weekend, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan would participate in the virtual meeting on the FATF to be held in Paris and hoped it would upgrade the country to its white list.

Qureshi telephoned his Saudi, Turkish and Malaysian counterparts to brief them about Pakistan’s “significant progress” to implement the FATF’s plan of action, the reports said.

Officials in Islamabad have said that Pakistan is unlikely to be placed on the FATF’s black list given that it has the support of at least three countries –China, Malaysia and Turkey– to veto any such move.