Pakistan alongside China beats Indian lobbying against Islamabad
ISLAMABAD - With longtime ally China providing diplomatic cover, Pakistan is confident it can avert being blacklisted by a global watchdog group over "terrorism" financing on Friday.
But the country will not be completely off the hook until Islamabad proves it is genuinely severing ties with various groups of fighters, say officials and analysts.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - the Paris-based intergovernmental organisation that combats money laundering and "terrorism" financing - last year placed Pakistan on a grey list of countries with inadequate controls.
During its five-day meeting, FATF will decide on Friday whether to retain that designation, or blacklist Pakistan alongside Iran and North Korea.
If blacklisted, Islamabad faces financial consequences and economic setbacks at a time when its economy is facing a balance of payments crisis.
"The main challenge for Pakistan is to convince the FATF that it is taking complete and irreversible steps against terrorist financing," said Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center think-tank.
Pakistan, which blames archrival India for lobbying to blacklist it, is relying for support on friendly countries like China, as well as Turkey and Malaysia.
Two top government officials and a security source told the Reuters news agency that in a recent visit to Beijing, Pakistan's civil and military leadership secured a guarantee from Chinese leaders that Pakistan would not be placed on the blacklist.