India asks Pak to address global concerns on terror

India on Saturday asked Pakistan to address global concerns on terrorism by taking “credible” and “irreversible” steps, after an international body, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), slammed the country for failing to do enough to check terror financing and warned of action if it does not comply with the requirements in four months.

The FATF said Pakistan, since June last year, made “a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG (Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering) to strengthen its AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.

It said: “Pakistan has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including the recent development of its TF (Terrorist Financing) risk assessment addendum; however, it does not demonstrate a proper understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risk.”

A statement issued after three-day deliberations of the international watchdog, founded by G-7 (Group of seven industrialized nations) in 1989, Asaid, read: “The FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019.”

“The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plan items are set to expire. Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress.”

The FATF has already placed Pakistan in the ‘Grey’ list (watch list) and runs the risk of being blacklisted, after which the country can be denied aid by international bodies.

In the wake of the FATF warning, India on Saturday said Pakistan should take “credible” and “irreversible” steps to address global concerns related to terrorism.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan should take all necessary steps to effectively implement the FATF action plan to counter terror financing operations.

“We expect Pakistan to take all necessary steps to effectively implement the FATF Action Plan fully within the remaining time frame i.e. by September 2019 in accordance with its political commitment to the FATF,” Kumar said.

“Pakistan should take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures to address global concerns related to terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from any territory under its control,” he added.

Outlining a series of steps that Pakistan needs to take, the FATF said it should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its “strategic deficiencies”, including by “adequately demonstrating its proper understanding of the TF risks posed by the terrorist groups , and conducting supervision on a risk-sensitive basis”.

It also asked Pakistan to demonstrate that “remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions.a

Pakistan also needs to demonstrate that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services (MVTS).

The FATF also asked Pakistan to demonstrate that “law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating the widest range of TF activity and that TF investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and persons and entities acting on behalf or at the direction of the designated persons or entities.”

Pakistan must demonstrate that TF prosecutions result in “effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and enhancing the capacity and support for prosecutors and the judiciary,” the FATF said.

It said Pakistan should also show aceeffective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf, including preventing the raising and moving of funds, identifying and freezing assets (movable and immovable), and prohibiting access to funds and financial services.”

The 1267 refers to the UN Sanctions Committee, which has listed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and ALashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed as global terrorists.

The FATF said Pakistan also must demonstrate that “facilities and services owned or controlled by designated person are deprived of their resources and the usage of the resources.”

(IANS)