Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Pakistan in global terror-financing watch list effective from June

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal
Patty Aguilar | 24 February, 2018, 06:41

Reports after the FATF meeting in Paris said Pakistan will be included in the list in June this year.

The absence of Pakistan's name from the list of "Jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering / countering the financing of terrorism deficiencies for which they have developed an action plan with the FATF", posted on the official website of the watchdog following the plenary session, indicates that Pakistan has apparently survived the attempt to put it on the watchlist that could have had serious economic repercussions for the country.

The resolution earlier faced opposition from China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia (on behalf of GCC).

Participants in the Paris task force meeting said the United States, which under President Donald Trump has toughed its stance toward Pakistan, lobbied to convince other task force members that Islamabad is not doing enough to combat terrorism financing. When asked, had Pakistan been placed in the list, the experts say that it could have because after 9/11 particularly, FATF has a substantial influence over the decisions taken by International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Dr Faisal claimed that most U.S. concerns over deficiencies in steps taken to curb money laundering and terror financing had already been addressed in 2015, when Pakistan exited the grey list.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had said on Tuesday that Pakistan had been given a three-month reprieve by the global watchdog.

If there is a failure to build consensus on the action plan, Pakistan could be black listed by FATF, a status now applied only to Iran and North Korea.

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Earlier, Pakistan had lobbied for support in western capitals and even turned to Russian Federation to prevent its inclusion in the grey list, from which it was removed in 2015 after three years.

Citing Pakistani officials and unnamed diplomats, Reuters and India Today reported on February 23 that the Financial Action Task Force, which met during the week in Paris, chose to put Pakistan back on its "grey list" after China and Gulf Arab countries dropped their opposition to the move. Under FATF rules one country's opposition was not enough to prevent a motion from being successful.

Going back on the grey list would be an "embarrassment" for Pakistan; it could damage its economy, too. Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal slammed the report and said an official confirmation was awaited.

The Foreign Office (FO) spokesman, Dr Muhammad Faisal, in a weekly press briefing, said Pakistan had serious concerns over the motion moved by the U.S. and United Kingdom at the FATF. However, in the final voting round, only Turkey supported Pakistan. It would also make it more expensive to get and repay loans from global lenders like the IMF and the World Bank.

"Unfortunately, baseless allegations and fabricated accusations without any evidence appear to have become a regrettable trend in India which is being used to creating hysteria against Pakistan". It wants to pressurize Pakistan to act against terror-financing and money laundering as the USA claims Pakistan isn't doing enough to counter such activities.

Why did U.S. move resolution against Pak?

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