8,707 suspicious transactions: FATF hauls up Pakistan, says Imran Khan govt 'doesn't understand' terror financing risks

Islamabad: The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has warned Pakistan to curb terror financing, following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, the responsibility for which was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

Condemning the attack, the FATF noted with concern that incidents like the Pulwama terror attack proved that terrorism continued to threaten societies around the world, and could not take place without funding and the means to move funds among terror supporters.

Inter-ministerial consultations have been taking place in Pakistan ever since, to work on areas highlighted by the FATF's International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG).

Meanwhile, the financial monitoring unit has issued 8,707 suspicious transaction reports (STRs) in 2018, compared to 5,548 STRs issued in 2017 in Pakistan. Furthermore, around 1,136 STRs have been issued in January and February alone this year, reported Dawn.

 8,707 suspicious transactions: FATF hauls up Pakistan, says Imran Khan govt doesnt understand terror financing risks

File image of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. Reuters

Six banks have also been fined, while 109 bankers are being investigated for opening fake bank accounts.

Adding to this, smuggled currency and jewellery amounting to more than Rs 20 billion (Pakistani rupee) has been confiscated between July 2018 and 31 January, 2019, the report said.

The ICRG, in its recent meeting with Pakistan, was not satisfied with progress on milestones that had been set out for the country for January 2019.

The FATF told Pakistan to "swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019."

Furthermore, the FATF noted that Pakistan did not "demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban," according to Dawn.

Following this, all the government machineries in Pakistan have been spurred into motion to show progress in curbing terror funding, with only a few months to go for the next FATF meeting, scheduled to take place in June 2019.

India has raised the issue of Pakistan harbouring terrorism on its soil on many a forum, with the international community throwing its weight behind New Delhi following the 14 February terrorist attack in Pulwama which claimed the lives of over 42 CRPF personnel.

In fact, the United States told Pakistan to stop supporting and providing a safe haven to terror outfits and terrorists in the immediate aftermath of the attack, as US President Donald Trump highlighted how he had stopped paying $ 1.3 billion to Pakistan.

Islamabad now has to comply with the 10-point action plan, demonstrating that it understands the terror financing risks posed by the terrorist entities listed above.

They further need to prove that terror financing prosecutions lead to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. It also has to show an effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against the 1,267 and 1,373 UN-designated terrorists.

If Pakistan fails in accomplishing the objectives laid out by the FATF and curbing funding for terrorism, it may be put on the blacklist by FATF by September, 2019.

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Updated Date: Mar 05, 2019 10:25:42 IST