The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) on Saturday published its report on money-laundering and terror-financing in Pakistan, a week before the annual plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) where a decision could be taken on Pakistan’s “grey list” status and whether there is plausible reason to move towards “blacklisting” the country.
Pakistan scored poorly in the FATF-APG report card which had 10 parameters for ‘Effectiveness and Technical Compliance Ratings’ and 40 parameters for ‘Technical Compliance Ratings’.
Of the ten effectiveness ratings, Pakistan was found “low” in nine areas and “moderate” in one. Of the ‘Technical Compliance’ parameters, the country was found “compliant” in only one, “partially compliant” in 26, “largely compliant” in nine, and “non-compliant” in four.
The 228-page report titled “Mutual Evaluation Report 2019” would be one of the bases for the scrutiny that Pakistan would be put to by the FATF, next week.
Pakistan has been found wanting in most parameters, especially when it came to taking action against globally designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed.
The report says, “With the exception of some recent actions discussed in detail below, Pakistan has not taken sufficient measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against all listed individuals and entities – especially those associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as well as the groups’ leader Hafiz Saeed.”
India, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and many other nations have been consistently pushing for action against these terror networks and terrorists but to no avail.
Exposing the Pakistan government’s collusion, the report adds, “Despite being listed by the UNSCR 1267 Committee in 2008 (JuD) and 2012 (FIF), before February 2018, JuD/FIF openly operated in Pakistan, including holding public rallies and fundraising events. Numerous Pakistani media reports showed FIF raising funds ostensibly for humanitarian relief, as well as operating a large ambulance fleet, which calls into question whether the prohibition on providing funds and financial services was being fully implemented.”
The report also calls into question the decisions taken by the Pakistani establishment without taking them to their logical conclusion such as, “In February 2018, Pakistan passed the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance 2018, which amended the ATA to automatically proscribe individuals and entities listed at the United Nations. Immediately, following the adoption of this amendment, Pakistan seized numerous articles of property (both moveable and non-moveable – see below) belonging to JuD/FIF, after minimal actions had been taken prior to this point.”
“However, the ordinance’s duration was limited to 120 days (and is thus expired) and was not renewed or permanently adopted into law. It is not clear why Pakistan decided to make UN-designated entities automatically proscribed for 120 days given that during the onsite visit authorities stated that this Ordinance was never necessary in order to implement Pakistan’s UNSCR 1267 obligations. Pakistan’s recent efforts to fully implement UNSCR 1267 against JuD/FIF were further challenged by a Lahore High Court interim order in April 2018, which prevented the authorities from interfering with the “charitable institutions” of JuD/FIF, despite their status as UN-listed organizations.”
This report strengthens India’s case for the FATF plenary in Paris. But, there might be challenges that the Indian team could face and blacklisting of Pakistan could be an uphill task since Xiangmin Liu of the People’s Bank of China took over the presidency of the international financial watchdog in July 2019.
Xiangmin Liu is the current FATF President who took over from Marshall Billingslea of the United States of America.