Islamabad   -  Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting that deliberated on critical national security issues including implementation of the Finance Action Task Force (FATF) action plan and the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Director General Inter Services Intelligence and Director General ISPR, besides ministers of finance and education, minister of state for interior, secretaries of foreign and interior affairs, and other senior officials.

A statement issued after the meeting said that security matters were discussed but it did not present any elaboration.

However, according to official sources, the focus of the meeting was largely on the internal security wherein the progress on the implementation of FATF action plan against money laundering and ongoing operation against the proscribed organisations under National Action Plan (NAP) were reviewed.

The meeting follows an important visit of a Asia Pacific Group (APG) delegation which arrived on Monday to assess progress Pakistan made on implementation of global standards against financial crimes to warrant country’s exclusion from the FATF grey list.

FATF is a global body striving for curbing money laundering and terror financing, and it often relies on assessments made by the regional partners, like AGP, working for the same objectives.

The talks between Pakistan and APG delegation continued for the second day on Wednesday and are expected to conclude today.

The relevant departments briefed the visiting delegation on actions being taken to prevent terror financing and money laundering.

It was informed about Pakistan’s action against banned outfits, in line with the United Nations Security Council guidelines, and the steps being taken by the government to formulate Anti Money Laundering laws to regulate the financial affairs of non-profit organisations.

The visiting APG mission would share its draft report with the Pakistani authorities on the conclusion of the talks so the country could address the concerns, if any.

The APG is supposed to present its findings on mutual evaluation, probably in August, to the general body meeting.

Pakistan was earlier placed by FATF in its Ongoing

 

 

Compliance Document in view of an action plan undertaken by it to strengthen its CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) regime.

FATF reviewed the progress made by Pakistan with CFT role, based upon an analysis carried out by Asia-Pacific Joint Group. It noted that Pakistan had taken several steps to implement the action plan including the undertaking of Risk Assessment of Terrorism Financing and Cash Smuggling in the country.

The watchdog will undertake the next review of Pakistan’s progress in June 2019 which will be preceded by face-to-face meeting with the Joint Group in May 2019.

The country has taken several steps since the February 18-22 meetings with FATF functionaries to comply with latest instructions to meet various deadlines to avoid being included in the blacklist.

As the FATF meetings were still in progress in February, the government had announced a ban on Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FiF) and declared them as “high risk”.

In fact, Pakistan has declared all the eight entities and related elements specifically named by FATF as threats to the global financial system as “high risk”.

Under the this category, the government is required to start monitoring and re-examining the groups’ activities and profiles under heightened security checks at all layers of legal, administrative, investigative and financial regimes.

Money laundering has emerged as the most critical issue for Pakistan. In a high-level meeting two weeks ago the government had decided to make significant amendments in money laundering and foreign exchange laws and enhance the maximum imprisonment to 10 years and the fine to Rs5 million for convicts.