Pakistani delegation in Beijing to face FATF review starting Tuesday

In this file photo, the logo of the FATF (the Financial Action Task Force) is seen during a news conference after a plenary session at the OECD Headquarters in Paris on Oct. 18, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Updated 20 January 2020

Pakistani delegation in Beijing to face FATF review starting Tuesday

  • The country will discuss progress made on 22 action points while claims to have complied with five
  • The three-day talks come ahead of global watchdog’s plenary session in February

KARACHI: Pakistani delegation of experts has reached Beijing to participate in the three-day talks with the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) starting January 21.
The global money laundering watchdog is holding face-to-face meetings ahead of its plenary session in Paris next month to decide Pakistan’s fate as the South Asian nation makes efforts to avoid blacklisting.
The Pakistani team headed by Minister for Economic Affairs Division, Hammad Azhar, will discuss the progress made on the implementation of 22 action points, out of 27, suggested by the global watchdog while the country claims to have complied with five.
The FATF working group technical team will review Pakistan’s 650-page report filed on January 8, 2020 in response to the 150 questions by the Working Group raised on the country’s initial progress report submitted on December 03, 2019 regarding the implementation of the 27-point action plan.
Pakistan is hopeful to win a ‘largely-compliant’ rating by FATF even if it does not make it out of the grey-list at the moment, which can buy the country more time for full compliance.
“Based on the results we have provided to FATF, we are optimistic. On majority of action items, we are complaint and have made reasonable and significant progress,” Mansoor Hassan Siddiqui, Director General of Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of Pakistan’s central bank, told Arab News last week.
In October last year, FATF gave Pakistan until February 2020 to make swift progress on the given action plan after observing that the country had only made “limited progress” to curb terrorism financing and money laundering.
Pakistan has amended its laws dealing with anti-money laundering proposing harsh punishment and enhanced financial penalties. Country’s suggested amendments in Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947 (FERA) and Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2010 were passed by the parliament are in process of being promulgated as law.
Pakistan is also taking steps to safeguard saving schemes against ill-gotten money and terror financing through promulgation of National Savings Schemes (AML-CFT) Rules, 2019.
“Pakistan has made substantial progress and is compliant to large extent but we are not fully compliant so far. In the upcoming plenary meeting that will be held in Paris we need three votes to avoid blacklisting that we have,” Muzamil Aslam, senior economists who is closely monitoring the developments, told Arab News. “We are not going to be blacklisted.”
Amid growing opposition from arch rival India, Pakistan has also enhanced its diplomatic efforts ahead of the next month’s meeting to avoid blacklisting especially the recent visit of Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to United States where he sought US support and hoped that the it would back Pakistan in the upcoming meeting.
“America will be the swing factor. If the US supports Pakistan on the progress we made against terror financing and terrorism, we can immediately move out of the grey-list to white,” Aslam commented.


Appeal opens against acquittal of Briton convicted in Daniel Pearl killing

Updated 01 December 2020

Appeal opens against acquittal of Briton convicted in Daniel Pearl killing

  • Pearl’s parents and prosecutors lodged an appeal at Pakistan’s Supreme Court in May, putting the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh on hold
  • The American journalist was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about Islamist militants

ISLAMABAD: An appeal against the controversial acquittal of a British-born militant convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl opened at a Pakistani court on Tuesday.
A Karachi court sparked outrage earlier this year when it overturned the 2002 murder conviction of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and acquitted three other men connected to the case.
Pearl’s parents and prosecutors lodged an appeal at Pakistan’s Supreme Court in May, putting the release of the four men on hold.
“The case has finally opened, it will be decided whether they should be convicted or acquitted. The case is heading to a final verdict,” Faisal Siddiqui, the lawyer representing Pearl’s parents, told AFP.
The appeal, which has been frequently postponed in recent months, will hear opening arguments in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday.
Sheikh had been on death row for Pearl’s murder but was acquitted in April by the Sindh High Court which instead sentenced him to seven years for kidnapping — paving the way for him to walk free after already serving 18 years.
Three co-defendants who were serving life sentences in connection to the case were acquitted.
Pearl was South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about Islamist militants.
A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate nearly a month later.
Pearl’s killing stirred international condemnation of Pakistan’s military government just as it was remaking its image after years of backing the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.