FATF watchlist: Pakistan has the friends to beat US bid

FATF watchlist: Pakistan has the friends to beat US bid

ISLAMABAD - A proposal to ‘grey list’ Pakistan was believed to be co-sponsored by the US, UK in the 37-member body, Financial Action Task Force.

China is believed to have opposed the proposal. But during the FATF meetings at Paris from Sunday to Tuesday, Russia and Turkey are also believed to have supported China in opposing the proposal.

As votes of three members are needed to defeat FATF proposals which are approved unanimously, the US-led group did not move the motion for voting on the FATF plenary session.

If Pakistan would have been placed on the ‘grey list’, the cost of doing business in the country would have increased manifold, besides drying up the foreign investment.

It would have worsened the country’s macroeconomic position which is already under pressure due to a widening trade deficit and falling foreign exchange reserves.

Pakistan had earlier been on the FATF ‘grey list’ from 2012 to 2015, following a detailed assessment by APG in 2010 and lack of follow-up action by Islamabad to curb terror financing.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted on Tuesday, “Our efforts paid, FATF Paris 20 Feb meeting conclusion on the US-led motion to put Pakistan on watch list.. No consensus for nominating Pakistan, proposing three months pause and asking APG [Asia Pacific Group] for another report to be concluded in June”.

Asif was in Moscow when he posted on Twitter. Worried about the FATF meeting, Islamabad had indulged in heavy diplomatic lobbying this month, sending ministers and senior officials to various foreign capitals.

To bolster its case, the Pakistan government had promulgated the ordinance that allowed the government to outlaw all organisations that are declared terrorists under UN Security Council resolutions.

This had led to action, including the government notification to to freeze and take over the assets of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its related charity, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FiF).