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What FATF wants Pakistan to ‘do more’ about blacklisted individuals

Who are the Pakistanis on the UN list?

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 22, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 22, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Key highlights

  • Pakistan must still comply with six points on two action plans
  • The country was downgraded from partially compliant to non-compliant for inaction against organizations and individuals banned by the UN
  • At least 17 Pakistanis remain on the UN sanctions list, but the baggage include Taliban leaders as well
  • Most of the points deal with mutual legal assistance, and assets freezing
  • FBR’s attempts to tighten monitoring of real estate agents and professionals also falls short

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is pressing Pakistan to act against the UN blacklisted organizations and individuals by freezing and confiscating their assets and enhancing mutual legal assistance with other countries, an FATF document indicates.

The document reports on Pakistan’s level of compliance with the FATF demands or recommendations. It shows that a contentious issue was mutual legal assistance and asset freezing. Pakistan was downgraded from partially compliant to non-compliant with regards to one of the action items between September 2020 and September 2021.

There are at least 17 Pakistanis on the United Nations Security Council’s “consolidated list” as of October 22, 2021. Additionally, the names of dozens of Taliban leaders, including officials from the Taliban regime, are still on the sanctions list. The FATF action plans require Pakistan to act against everyone on the UN list.

The FATF decided to retain Pakistan on its enhanced monitoring list, also called the ‘grey list,’ at its plenary held from October 19 to 21 in Paris. While FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer praised the progress made by Pakistan, he also urged the country to work on expediting cases against those involved in terror financing and money laundering.

He confirmed that Pakistan remains non-compliant or partially compliant on a total of six points on two actions plans containing a total of 67 recommendations.

What Pakistan needs to do

The data on Pakistan’s compliance with the FATF demands was finalized in September 2021 and included in a mutual evaluation review (MER) and follow up report (FUR) drafted on October 7, this year. The announcement to retain Pakistan on the grey list is based on the same report.

The “consolidated assessment ratings” contained in the document and other information show Pakistan made progress on at least 30 points between October 2019 and September 2021. Some of the progress has already been reported by officials over the past few months, especially since the FATF partner the Asia Pacific Group (APG) held its session in June 2021.

Pakistan needs to comply with the remaining five of the 40 points from the APG action plan and the remaining one item from the 27 points original FATF action plan.

Assets freeze and mutual legal assistance

Pakistan’s progress was reversed on at least one of the points in the June meeting and the country was declared non-compliant on recommendation 27 (Mutual legal assistance), abbreviated R27. It was partially compliant on R27 in 2019 but has now been downgraded.

The country also remains non-compliant on recommendation 28 on “mutual legal assistance: freezing and confiscation.”

The two recommendations urge Pakistan to ” rapidly, constructively and effectively provide the widest possible range of mutual legal assistance in relation to money laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorist financing investigations, prosecutions, and related proceedings” and “to take expeditious action in response to requests by foreign countries to identify, freeze, seize and confiscate property laundered; proceeds from money laundering, predicate offences and terrorist financing; instrumentalities used in, or intended for use in, the commission of these offences; or property of corresponding value.”

Sharing intelligence and data

The other recommendations Pakistan needs to comply with are R15, R28, and R33. Recommendation 15 concerns the usage of new technologies to prevent money laundering, and recommendation 33 urges countries to “maintain comprehensive statistics” for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

Additionally, under the remaining one item from the original plan, Pakistan also needs to share information, financial intelligence, and evidence and to facilitate action against criminals and their assets.

Monitoring of professionals

One of the important steps Pakistan has taken in recent months to comply with FATF demands is to increase supervision of realtors and professionals including lawyers and accountants.

In September 2021, the government tightened the noose on who can do property deals by introducing a license system for real estate agents in PakistanReal estate is one sector where money laundering is rampant as people park their black money in plots.

However, the efforts failed to impress the FATF as the country remains partially compliant on recommendation 28 which concerns regulation and supervision of BNFBPs (Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions).

According to the recommendation, countries should ensure “DNFBPs are subject to effective systems for monitoring and ensuring compliance with AML/CFT requirements.”

Pakistanis on the UN sanctions list

While monitoring realtors and professionals and sharing intelligence and data with other countries remains as much challenging as it could be, an uphill task is taking action against organizations and individuals banned under the UN security council list.

There are at least 17 Pakistanis on the UN’s consolidated list, which also details their affiliation.  They are from Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, other Kashmir focused groups, the banned TTP, and Ummah Tameer e-Nau. Most of them have already been detained for years.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is the leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and has been listed since 2008, according to the UN list. The entry also lists his address in Lahore’s Johar Town, where a bomb exploded in June this year. He is in government custody.

Mohammad Yahya Mujahid is believed to be Saeed’s deputy. He has been jailed since June 2009, according to the UN entry about him.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi has been described as the chief of operations of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. His Islamabad and Okara addresses are on the UN list.

Haji Muhammad Ashraf is another member of the LeT and he has been described as its “chief of finance.” Hailing from Faisalabad, he is one of the first Lashkar leaders to be placed on the UN sanctions list in 2008.

Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi from Gujranwala is another deputy to Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, according to the UN list. He is also a founding LeT member.

Zafar Iqbal is a senior leader and co-founder of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. The UN entry claims that he is also the incharge of Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s finances. The UN lists Jamaat-ud-Dawa or JuD as as an alias of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

Arif Qasmani from Karachi is declared a LeT and Al Qaeda associate. He was detained in 2005.

The sanctions against LeT members and leaders were imposed after the successive Indian governments lobbied intensely. Most of these men have been put behind bars by Pakistan.

Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul Jihad Islami

Mohammad Masood Azhar Alvi has been described by the UN as the founder of Jaish-i-Mohammad and a former leader of Harkat ul-Mujahiddin. He is from Bahawalpur and was listed in 2019.  

Abdur Rehman al-Sindhi from Karachi has been accused of providing facilitation and financial services to Al-Qaida. He was also associated with Harakatul Jihad Islami, Jaish-I-Mohammed, and Al-Akhtar Trust International, the UN sanctions list claims. He was listed in 2008.

Mati-ur-Rehman Ali Muhammad has been termed the chief operational commander of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. He was also associated with the banned Harakat-ul Jihad Islami. Mati-ur-Rehman is from the Bahawalpur district.

Ummah Tameer-e-Nau

Ummah Tameer-e-Nau was suspected of supplying information about constructing nuclear weapons to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. It came under a crackdown in 2001.

Abdul Majeed Chaudhry was listed on 24 December 2001 as being associated with Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden or the Taliban. The UN list notes that he is a nuclear scientist who served as a director of Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN)

Mahmood Sultan Bashiruddin is a Pakistani nuclear scientist and a member of UTN. The address listed before his name is from Kabul in Afghanistan. He was detained in 2001 by Pakistani security agencies and taken for debriefing.

Mohammad Tufail served as a director of UTN. His name was also listed in 2001.

TTP, Afghan Taliban, and Al Qaeda

Adam Khan Achekzai is a Pakistani national from Chaman but also has a Kandahar address. He has been described as an Afghan Taliban facilitator who manufactured improvised explosive devices for them. His name has been linked to bombings in Afghanistan.

Noor Wali Mehsud is the head of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was listed only last year.

Aamir Ali Chaudhry has been described as an electronics and explosives expert for the banned TTP.

Abdul Hakim Murad is in US custody for his association with Al Qaeda. He is a commercial pilot and was arrested from Manila, the Philippines, in January 1995 in a raid that resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of chemicals and other paraphernalia used in the manufacture of explosives, a UN entry claims.

He has been described as a Pakistani national who was issued a Pakistani passport in Kuwait.

Afghan Taliban leaders

The names of several Afghan Taliban leaders are still on the UN sanctions list. They include Taliban Prime Minister Hassan Akhund, Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, another Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqqi and many other key leaders.

Muttaqi led the recent Doha talks with the United States and the European leaders.

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