WASHINGTON: Pakistan ambassador to the United States Ali Jenhangir Siddiqui has said there would not be any major impact on the country economy after being placed on a watch list by an international task force, adding Islamabad hoped to get off the list within 15 months.
After put on the watch list by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the government has vowed to further tighten rules against money laundering and be in compliance to keep Pakistan off the list.
Asked during an interview this week by a foreign media outlet if the development could impact the country's economy and the bond market, Ambassador Siddiqui said that there would be a very slight impact.
Pakistan economy has recovered significantly in the past few years, posting a 5.5 growth in the previous financial year. The multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative has given a tremendous boost to the economy and investment.
"Pakistan was on the grey list some years ago and then we existed, but now the goals posts have moved a little in terms of (new) requirements," the Ambassador said but added that Pakistan has all the intent to take measures to be fully in compliance with the body requirements.
Pakistan remained on the watch list for three years until 2015, when it took certain measures to meet the standards set by FATF to be removed from the list. However it was placed on the list again in June, after being pushed hard by the United States.
Ambassador Siddiqui said that FATF was a multilateral body and keeps coming with new recommendations to prevent terror financing. "We intend to be in compliance over the next 15 months and get off the grey list again," he added.
Pakistan was included on the watch list for three years until 2015, and FATF has told the government what needs to be done in order to be taken off again.
Besides Pakistan, there are a number of countries on the grey list of FATF whose standards need some level of improvement Responding to a question, the ambassador said that getting out of the grey list was a "hard priority" for the Pakistan government. He said that Pakistan's Finance Minister was in Paris recently to meet the officials at the FATF headquarters and we are quite hopeful that we will be in compliance.
Replying to a question if the US has closed door on Pakistan, the ambassador said that the Trump administration has a lot on its plate and Pakistan recognized that.
But the Trump administration also recognizes the importance of its relations with Pakistan; they recognize the importance of achieving peace in Afghanistan, he said alluding to the area of a shared interest where two countries were working together. We have not found any closed doors.