Islamabad, November 21, 2012 (PPI-OT): Expressing Pakistan’s full commitment to countering financing of terrorism, ambassador Masood informed the world body that Pakistan being an important member of the UN Convention for Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism; has enacted a landmark Anti-Money Laundering Law, which has helped frozen hundred of bank accounts worth RS. 751 million. “The Financial Intelligence Unit of the State Bank of Pakistan is actively monitoring suspicious financial transactions”, he added, says a press release received here today from New York.
Speaking at a special meeting of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee at the UN Headquarters on Tuesday, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative, ambassador Masood Khan told the world body that Pakistan was successfully implementing the comprehensive international standards embodied in the recently modified recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. As an active member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, he informed that Pakistan had hosted a Ministerial meeting in Islamabad to devise strategies to deal with the increasing threat of financing of terrorism through the proceeds of illicit narcotics, their production and trafficking.
He called for a global approach to overcome the challenges of financing of terrorism. “Urgency of the international cooperation in this field has to be balanced with provisions of financial institutions regarding the confidentiality of data and protection of their clients’ privacy”, he added.
The ambassador said that in developing countries, law enforcement problems in counter-financing of terrorism were mainly because of lack of skills, training, resources that impede investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of financial crimes. “A global network of trainers would be required for capacity building across different legal systems of the world”. He commended the CTED’s initiative of drawing attention to this challenge by holding workshops on this issue”.
Referring to a recommendation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regarding the abuse of non-profit entities for the financing of terrorism, he said this might have some unintended consequences for charities around the world. In this context, he called for the enhancement of capacity of the Developing States’ so that they could introduce regulatory framework without undermining the legitimate role and the right to freedom of association of non-profit organizations.
Drawing attention towards the international framework, which still assumes the frequent use of formal sector institutions by terrorists for cross-border transfers of value, the ambassador said it was hard to trace suspicious activity of terrorism financing in the formal financial system and even harder in an informal economy. “The current legal and normative framework needs to be adapted to the reality of informal value transfer systems in many parts of the world”.
He said without sufficient and reasonable evidence, the national authorities and international bodies should avoid making laws or regulations in the name of countering the financing of terrorism. “The burden of prevention of the financing should be commensurate with the risk of terrorism”. Otherwise, national and regional courts, he said were likely to ignore the rationale for freezing accounts and give decisions to protect human rights and due process.
Appreciating the international legal system’s CFT regulations, he said the flow of terrorists’ funds gets noticed and it was now hard for terrorists to raise transfer money anywhere in the world. “Today, banks are more conscious of customer due diligence. Security agencies are more efficient in monitoring terrorists’ financial transactions. There is no room for complacency but these few successes are a matter of satisfaction for the international community and lay a sound foundation for more work to suppress financing of terrorism”.
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