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Pakistan clamps down on property and funds of terror groups

March 5, 2019
Pakistan clamps down on property and funds of terror groups

All these groups are on the UN's terror list

 

Photo: AFP

Pakistan is freezing accounts and seizing assets linked to organisations banned by the United Nations Security Council.

The objective of the UNSC (Freezing and Seizure) Order 2019 is to streamline the procedure for implementation of Security Council Sanctions against designated individuals and entities, reads a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Over the years the sanctions regime of the United Nations Security Council have evolved, the statement explains. “A key measure of these sanctions regimes is “assets freeze” under which States are required to freeze/seize the assets of designated entities and individuals as soon as they are designated by the relevant UNSC Sanctions Committee.”

Related: Pakistan’s ‘grey list’ fate hangs in balance as FATF meets in Paris on Feb 17

This means that the government has taken control of all the banned organisations operating in Pakistan, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal told DawnNewsTV.

The government will take control of the charity wings and ambulances of these outfits too, he shared.

Pakistan is among 83 countries with a risk score of 5.0 or above. These are countries that could be loosely classified as having a significant risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, according to the Basel AML Report 2018, an independent annual ranking that assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in 129 countries.

“Money laundering and terrorist financing continue to cripple economies, distort international finances and harm citizens around the globe,” says the report, which forms its global index based on the FATF’s country evaluation reports. It estimates that the amount of money laundered worldwide ranges from $500 billion to a staggering $1 trillion.

Related: Assets and accounts of banned outfits seized, Pakistan govt tells FATF in Sydney dialogue

Pakistan has criminalised both money laundering and terrorist financing but has not been able to enforce these laws effectively. Being on the grey list doesn’t come with any sanctions, but if we remain on this list, we face the risk of being put on the black list. This is where it gets problematic.

Being on the black list means our banking system will be regarded as one with poor controls over AML and CFT standards — forget bringing PayPal to Pakistan, expatriates will find it difficult to send remittances and traders’ cost of business will increase because our banks will face higher scrutiny in international payments and foreign banks might not even do business with Pakistani banks. The government, too, will struggle to raise funds from international markets if we are placed on the black list.

Pakistan has been on and off the grey list in the past. The last time we were removed from the grey list was in February 2015. If the ongoing consultations between the FATF and the Pakistani government are successful, we will be taken off the grey list and placed on the white list.

 

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