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APG dissatisfied over Pakistan actions to block flow of funds to proscribe organisations

ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has expressed dissatisfaction over the action taken by Pakistan to block proscribed organization flow of funds and activities.

“The crux of the first two days of interactions is that they (APG) consider us very good on paper — legislation, regulation, data collection and notifications — mostly involving the federal government, but highly non-performing at provincial and district levels where such POs and non-profit organisations (NPOs) actually operate,” Dawn newspaper quoted a senior official as telling.

The APG delegation is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan for mutual evaluation as part of second country risk assessment report and would conclude its assessment on Thursday (today). Authorities of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Financial Monitoring Unit, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, ministries of foreign affairs and interior, National Counter Terrorism Authority, Federal Investigation Agency and Counter-Terrorism Departments of the provinces participated in the two-day interaction.

The official said the situation was such that Finance Minister Asad Umar had directed the newly appointed finance secretary to give top priority to ‘problem areas’ in consultation with the federal and provincial agencies and plug deficiencies so that a robust report could be submitted to the FATF by third week of April. This followed a joint commitment of the civil and military leadership in recent meetings that all institutions had to put their act together to get the country out of the FATF’s grey list.

The official said the APG delegation appreciated the flooding of data on issuance of suspected transaction reports (STRs), blockade of funds through banking and other formal channels and strengthening of legal, regulatory and institutional mechanism. “But the team members repeatedly raised questions over specific and on-ground actions against each of the eight organisations proscribed under international requirements. They wanted break-up of suspected transaction report against each PO and specific actions taken against each entity,” the official added.

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