Pak to hold joint session of parliament to get FATF bills passed

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 14, 2020, 07.15 PM(IST)

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakistan is set to convene a joint session of its parliament to pass two bills related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), ahead of the terror financing watchdog's meet which will start on Tuesday.

In the meeting, the body will decide if they should blacklist Pakistan.

The Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to call the fresh sessions was taken during a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and his adviser on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan on Monday, according to a media report.

The Pakistan government earlier held a meeting to get all opposition parties on board for the proposed legislations related to the FATF. It said the bills were necessary for getting the country out of the greylist.

Pakistan has so far been saved by its allies -- China, Turkey and Malaysia.

Experts believe this safety shield will also expire in a few days.

Firstly, instead of clamping down on terrorists, Pakistan is misusing the laws to suppress critical voices with the arrest of journalists and threats of violence against editors. 

Secondly, Pakistan government has been trying to convince the opposition to back two bills on FATF.

The second bill is related to an amendment to the anti-money laundering bill -- and the Islamabad capital territory Waqf properties bill. 

Both are related to curbing money laundering and terror financing.

But despite this, Pakistan can show little or no progress in curbing terror.

Thirdly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is still busy saving Bajwa, who is involved in a corruption scandal.

But the FATF's list of demands is clear. Earlier this year, Pakistan was evaluated on 27 action points. And it failed on 13 of them.

There were four broad parameters on which Pakistan didn't comply -- anti-money laundering and terror financing; prosecution and penalising terror financing; transparency and secrecy in financial institutions; and implementing an effective national mechanism to check illegal funding of terrorist outfits. 

With Pakistan’s continuation in the ‘grey list’, it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation.

If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive by October, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the ‘Black List’ along with North Korea and Iran.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

(with inputs from agencies)