Pakistan Current Affairs

Pakistan action against terror funding not satisfactory: Asia Pacific Policy Group

According to review by Asia Pacific Policy Group on Money Laundering (APPG), Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on  legal front were found to be “unsatisfactory” despite it was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list in February 2018 for failing to curb terror funding. APPG examines cases of all countries on the grey and black lists and reports to FATF.

APPG Review

It was held in September 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. It observed that Pakistan has not achieved much, especially on legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc). It also reviewed Pakistan on its compliance with 26-point action plan, which it had submitted to FATF in Februarys 2018 to choke funding of militants groups.  Based on its observations, APPG will report the unsatisfactory performance by Pakistan to the FATF, at its plenary in Paris, France in October 2018. Another APPG review for Pakistan will be held in December 2018 following which final evaluation report will be prepared.

Comment

The development comes as major setback for newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was hoping that FAFT will be lenient in review given Pakistan’s commitment to 26-point action plan spanning over period of 15 months. Grey listing will squeeze Pakistan’s economy and make it harder to meet its mounting foreign financing needs, including potential future borrowings from IMF.

It will endanger Pakistan’s handful of remaining banking links to outside world, causing real financial pain to the economy. It will lead to downgrading of Pakistan’s debt ratings by international banking and credit rating agencies, making it more difficult to tap funds from international bond markets. It will also suspend international funds and aid to Pakistan such as Coalition Support Funds (CSF), money which US owes to Pakistan for military operations.

Background

The process to include Pakistan in list began in February 2018 when FATF approved nomination for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List. The resolution against Pakistan was moved by US which said that Pakistan is not doing enough to comply with anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering regulations. India also had lobbied hard with US for monitoring of Pakistan while highlighting funding of terrorist activities. Pakistan was on watch-list between 2012 and 2015 as well but then it was only for money laundering and not terror financing.

Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)

It is FATF-style regional body for Asia-Pacific region. It is inter-governmental (international) organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand. It consists of 41 member jurisdictions and number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations. It is focused on ensuring that its members effectively implement international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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Pakistan could become world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state: Report

According to recent report, Pakistan could become world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state after Russia, United States, France and China in terms of possession of total nuclear warheads. Pakistan currently has 140 to 150 nuclear warheads and its stockpile is expected to increase to 220 to 250 by 2025 (surpassing United Kingdom) if its current proliferation trend continues.

Key Findings of Report

The current estimate of 140 to 150 nuclear weapons with Pakistan exceeds projection made by US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020. Pakistan is continuing to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, delivery systems and growing fissile materials production industry.

The size of increase in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will depend on many factors. Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Pakistan plans to deploy, and how much Indian nuclear arsenal grows. Pakistan is developing several nuclear weapons delivery systems, four plutonium production reactor, and its uranium enrichment facilities are further expanding.

Pakistan is also modifying its nuclear posture with new short-range nuclear-capable weapon systems to counter military threats below the strategic level. Its nuclear program seeks to create full-spectrum deterrent that is designed not only to respond to nuclear attacks, but also to counter an Indian conventional incursion onto Pakistani territory.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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