ISLAMABAD- Pakistan Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif had tweeted “Grateful to friends who helped Pakistan in averting the FATF counter terrorism watch list bid by US, a clear reference to Russia, and China, which Supported Pakistan.
Pakistan has been conspicuously courting Moscow in addition to its close ties with Beijing in an effort to counter its relations from the US.
Sources at Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Islamabad’s success was due to intense diplomatic efforts. “China, Turkey and Russia, all of whom are part of FATF , opposed the motion, which was jointly moved by the US and the UK against Pakistan,” official sources said. After failing to arrive at a consensus, sources claimed, the global watchdog dropped its plan to table the motion for voting in its plenary session starting on Wednesday.
To avoid inclusion in the FATF watch list, the government had also amended the country’s anti-terrorism law on February 9 through a presidential ordinance in a bid to address some concerns of the FATF/APG. The legislation provided legal ground for action against UN-banned organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, headed by Hafiz Saeed.
“It appears that Pakistan’s recent move to ban the activities of Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) and other related outfits played a vital role in helping Islamabad’s case at FATF meeting,” said Fasihur Rehman, an analyst.
Pakistani commentators also claimed that support from the Gulf nations and Pakistan’s recent supply of troops to Saudi Arabia for its war on Yemen swung the issue in its favour.
“Good News! Apparently FATF failed to achieve consensus against Pakistan & matter is delayed for a while. GCC switched sides & supported Pakistan. Gen. Bajwa’s last-minute ‘troop diplomacy’ to Saudi Arabia delivered.
However, news of the FATF reprieve was received sceptically in Pakistan even as Washington remained silent on the matter.
“This is the normal process and time span given for reprieve warning. We all want Pakistan to come out of watch list nominations, but so far there’s no indication at all that the voting line-up will change in 3 months. Please don’t become complacent and ignore the danger,” PPP lawmaker and former Pakistan ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman cautioned.
The Pakistani media Had highlighted issues about the effects of grey-listing by FATF even though Islamabad has lived through it before in the 2012-2015 period. With greater financial compliance across the world, they fear that Pakistan will lose the foreign investment it gets and terms of raising capital and borrowing will become more stringent and expensive.