8 FIA circles set up to curb money laundering

They have been established on directions of interior ministry to meet FATF demand


Our Correspondent August 26, 2022
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). PHOTO: File

ISLAMABAD:

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has set up eight circles to prevent money laundering and terror financing in an effective manner and tighten the perimeter against the elements involved in these activities.

The circles have been established on the directions of the interior ministry and action would be taken against the culprits under a zero tolerance policy.

The anti-money laundering and terror financing circles in FIA have been set up in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sukkur, Quetta and Peshawar.

Each circle will have the authority to take strong action against the elements involved in the area under its jurisdiction.

They will also be empowered to investigate cases related to money laundering and terrorist financing and punish those found guilty.

For the implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions, sources said, the FIA and other institutions were dealing with such elements in a vigorous manner.

The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

The inter-governmental body sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.

Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list since June 2018, working to comply with the requirements of the watchdog to combat money laundering and terror financing.

Since then, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and Asia/Pacific Group to strengthen its anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter terrorist financing-related deficiencies, the country's continued political commitment has led to a significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan.

In its latest meeting, the FATF noted that Pakistan had made substantial progress that warranted an “on-site” visit.

Nevertheless, the FATF president made it clear that Pakistan would only be removed from the grey list after the positive assessment of the team that would do the ‘on-site’ inspection.

The FATF ‘on-site’ inspection team is expected to visit Pakistan next month to verify steps taken by the country to curb money laundering and terror financing before it finally exits the watchdog’s grey list.

Officials dealing with the issue believe that Pakistan needs to be cautious since it has to demonstrate to the visiting FATF team that all its actions are sustainable and irreversible. The focus of the FATF team will likely be on certain individuals who were convicted in different terror financing cases.

However, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said at a news conference in June that the FATF had now acknowledged by a consensus that all action items had been largely addressed by Pakistan. “The 2018 Action Plan has been closed with no pendency of action on the part of Pakistan,” she added.

On the 2021 Action Plan, which was mostly related to money laundering issues, Pakistan had submitted three progress reports. “I am very pleased to announce that Pakistan has completed the entire seven-point Action Plan a year ahead of the prescribed timelines,” she had noted.

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