ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Friday urged Asia Pacific Group (APG) to be flexible and practical in their deadlines and allow full opportunity to the authorities to provide necessary materials and reports to APG.

The APG has asked Pakistan to submit replies on technical compliance questionnaires with deadline of August 31, 2018, which are related to extradition treaties signed with different countries. A team of APG Secretariat and International Assessors visited Pakistan from August 13 to August 17 in connection with mutual evaluation of the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime. The APG has reportedly sought identifying network of terrorist organisations, structures and commands and control systems in the country. Similarly, it has stated that undocumented charities will have to be brought into digitised transaction system that could be tracked down by regulators.

The visiting APG delegation called on Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar and discussed with her the purpose of their visit, issues in compliance of policy actions and the schedule of further activities concerning the mutual evaluation. The minister welcomed the delegation and expressed Pakistan’s commitment and full cooperation to work with APG and FATF and provide necessary support to the delegation to complete its task of mutual evaluation. The minister gave a strong sense that the authorities concerned would be able to complete their respective tasks as early as possible. 

The minister particularly highlighted the transition of government as a consequence of the General Elections 2018 in the country and maintained that the incoming government would need further time to meet the requirements of mutual evaluation and related matters.

Earlier, the APG delegation met the operational teams of different ministries, organisations and authorities related to AML/CFT, including ministries of finance, interior, foreign affairs and law & justice, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, CDNS, Nacta, FIA, FBR-Customs, FBR-IRS, NAB, ANF, provincial CTDs and FMU.

The meetings enhanced the understanding of the APG delegation on Pakistan’s technical compliance with 40 FATF standards and provided necessary information and clarity in this regard. The APG delegation explained the assessment methodology of FATF, its provisional analysis of Pakistan’s compliance and highlighted the need to provide all relevant materials in support of the compliance position given by Pakistan. The authorities made out a strong case of technical compliance and highlighted various legislative, administrative and regulatory instruments in support of their position. The APG delegation acknowledged Pakistan’s position and advised the authorities to share final reports on technical compliance and effectiveness of implementation with APG by the end of August 2018. The APG delegation further explained the schedule of activities in connection with the mutual evaluation process.

The delegation appreciated the coordination and facilitation extended by Pakistan and all the authorities that remained available during the pre-site visit to explain Pakistan’s technical compliance with FATF standards. The APG team appreciated the clarifications provided by the Pakistani authorities, which helped it in better understanding Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime.

The delegation hoped all the preparatory work would be completed before the final on-site meeting in October this year.

It may be added that the caretaker finance minister has advised officials of the ministry of finance to strengthen the capacities of FMU and also requested all members of NEC at its 2nd August meeting to step up their capacities and ensure timely response to FMU on the specific components of Policy Action Plan.