ISLAMABAD Pakistan’s Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the China Anti Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Center (CAMLAC) on exchange of financial intelligence.

The MoU was signed on the sideline meetings of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), held its 22nd Annual Meeting in Canberra, Australia from 18-23 August 2019.

A senior level delegation from Pakistan headed by Dr. Raza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, is attending the meeting. The meeting adopted Pakistan’s third Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).

The MER covers the period from February to October 2018 and identifies a number of areas where further actions are required to strengthen the AML/CFT framework. The report does not cover the areas in which Government of Pakistan has made substantial progress since October 2018.

In the discussions, the Pakistan delegation welcomed engagement with the international community in its efforts to countering terrorism and money laundering. The delegation briefed APG members on the steps taken in recent times for improving its AML/CFT framework as well as the actions for ensuring effective implementation of the FATF Action Plan.

The Pakistan delegation also held a number of bilateral meetings with key delegations to brief them on recent progress by Pakistan in implementing the FATF Action Plan.

As background Pakistan is a member of the APG since 2000. APG is a regional body of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and requires its members to undergo mutual evaluation on the compliance of its anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework with FATF recommendations.

The current round is not directly linked to Pakistan’s performance on its highest level commitments with the FATF on money laundering and terror-financing, but its assessment report can indirectly impact the country’s position to move out of the grey list.

Pakistan had already submitted final report this month to show compliance on 27-point action plan given by FATF for last one year. The final meeting of FATF is expected to be held in October to take crucial decision either to exclude Pakistan from grey list or keep it into grey list or put the country into blacklist.

Officials in Ministry of Finance believed that the government had taken steps to come out from the grey list of FATF. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue had recently approved two laws in this regard.

The amendments in foreign exchange regulation laws (FERA) to restrict domestic movement of currency beyond a certain limit would curb the practice of Hawala/Hundi and other forms of illegal foreign exchange transactions act.

Amendments to the AML law approved by parliamentary committee included increasing punishment for money laundering up to 10 years and fine of five million rupees and prompting filing of suspicious transaction reports.

Pakistan has improved mechanism of suspicious transactions reporting (STR) and is continuously engaged on diplomatic front to counter Indian propaganda. Law enforcement agencies had also taken action against proscribed organisations such as Haqqani Network, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and others.