ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Friday said Pakistan as a responsible member of the international community continued to ensure the earliest completion of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan through increasing the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime.

In a keynote speech thro­ugh Zoom to a high-level panel on International Fina­n­cial Accountability, Trans­pa­rency and Integrity (FACTI), Dr Shaikh said Pakistan had already addressed 14 out of 27 FATF Action Plan items while substantial progress had been made in addressing the remaining 13 ones, according to a press release issued here by the finance ministry.

The FACTI panel discussed, among others, the overall efforts undertaken by member states to implement comprehensive international frameworks related to financial accountability, transparency and integrity critical to financing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Shaikh told the panel that Pakistan had made considerable progress in addre­ssing the recommended act­ions of Mutual Evaluation Report, which included 15 legal amendments to meet technical compliance, update of National Risk Assessment on ML/CT, implementation of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financial Terrorism (AML/CFT) measures on DNFBPs, CDNS and Pakistan Post, broadening the sanction regime, etc.

Similarly, he said, Pakis­tan had taken various measures in recent years to contain illicit financial flows through strengthening of the AML/CFT regulations on Customer Due Diligence and Know Your Customer and other AML/CFT instructions to financial institutions have been brought in line with FATF standards.

To further align with the international standards, he said, the AML Act had been amended to include tax offences as predicate offen­ces. A range of predicate offences had been added to the schedule of AML Act to include serious offences, including corruption, narcotics, terrorism and human trafficking, he added.

Dr Shaikh said violations of Section 4(1) (unauthorised FX business) and Section 5 (illegal transfers) of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), 1947, had been incorporated into the schedule of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, 2010 in terms of which those offences might also be punishable. He said amendments to the Protection of Economic Reforms Act (PERA) 1992 had been incorporated to restrict feeding of foreign currency accounts by non-tax filer Pakistani residents.

The adviser said the government had launched the Pakistan Remittances Initiative (PRI) to facilitate inflow of home remittance into the country through formal channels. Resultantly, Pakistan had registered growth in remittances during the last decade, rising from $6.4 billion in FY08 to $23bn in FY20.