US bid to put Pakistan on terror financing watch-list falls through

Published: February 21, 2018
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan won a last-minute reprieve at the Financial Action Task Force’s meeting in Paris on Tuesday after member states failed to reach consensus on placing the country on the global list of countries that finance terrorism.

The announcement came from Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif in a midnight tweet thanking ‘friends’ who helped Pakistan avoid a major international embarrassment.

“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, who is currently in Moscow, tweeted.

“Grateful to friends who helped,” he added.


Foreign office sources attributed the success to Pakistan’s frantic diplomatic efforts over the last few weeks. Although no details were available, sources suggested that 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.

After failing to arrive at a consensus, the FATF dropped its plan to table the motion for voting in its plenary session starting on Wednesday (today).

It is believed that Pakistan’s recent move to ban Jamaat-ud-Dawa and related charities run by Hafiz Saeed played a crucial role in helping Islamabad’s case.

Last Friday, President Mamnoon Hussain promulgated the ordinance that allowed the government to outlaw all organisations that are declared to be terrorists under UN Security Council resolutions.

US pushes motion to put Pakistan on global terrorist-financing watchlist

Ahead of the Paris meeting, Pakistan called the US move “politically motivated” with an aim to undermine the country’s economic growth. Islamabad was staring at defeat and a major diplomatic setback as countries such as Germany and France also backed the US motion.

Pakistan remained on the global terror financing watch list from 2012 to 2015. Had the US move succeeded this time, Pakistan’s economic woes would have multiplied. Not only the cost of doing business would have increased, but the foreign investment could have dried up as well, worsening the country’s macroeconomic position which is already under pressure due to a widening trade deficit and falling foreign exchange reserves.

While delisting the country in February 2015, the FATF had noted that Pakistan made significant progress in improving its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime and also established the legal and regulatory framework to meet its commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in June 2010.

However, Pakistan kept working with the Asia Pacific Group to address the full range of issues identified in its mutual evaluation report, in particular, fully implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1267.

Placing Pakistan on terror financing watch list a bid to destabilise economy: Iqbal

Miftah’s moves

Pakistan had sent Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail to plead its case to FATF members in Paris, along with other officials including the Financial Monitoring Unit director general, a finance joint secretary, and representatives from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

Just a day before his departure for France, the adviser had returned from a weeklong visit of Europe where he had gone to convince FATF member countries about the actions that Islamabad has taken to remain compliant with global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime.

The FATF is holding six-day-long meetings to discuss issues ‘to protect the integrity of the global financial system and contribute to safety and security’. The meetings involve more than 700 delegates from the 203 jurisdictions of the FATF Global Network, as well as the UN, IMF, World Bank and other partners.

The plenary meetings will take place from February 21 to 23 and will focus on counter-terrorism financing and proliferation financing.

At present, the 11 jurisdictions are on the high risk and monitoring list of the FATF, which include North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Sher
    Feb 21, 2018 - 1:28AM

    Instead of celeberating, be serious for God’s sake.This is a grace period given by FATF and Pakistan should take it very seriously and take the required actions as soon as possible, since these actions are in very interest of Pakistan. Don’t leave any loopholes in your foreign or domestic policies which the enemies can exploit.Recommend

  • Striver
    Feb 21, 2018 - 5:35AM

    Zardari and then Sharif government are to blame for this. Zardari for not accepting Chnina’s offer to block the UNSC move to put JuD on terror list and for Sharif government for a non-existent foreign policy.
    We don’t need enemies we have enough of them in government doing the job of our external enemies. Recommend

  • Lkhan
    Feb 21, 2018 - 6:04AM

    When you have vagabonds for leaders, things coming at this pass is not surprising. Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Feb 21, 2018 - 6:55AM

    The GHQ doesn’t even need these proxies anymore. The right wing cultural change in India is doing their job for them. Recommend

  • Xof
    Feb 21, 2018 - 7:02AM

    Burnol sale is the highest since inception on 2018.Recommend

  • Khan
    Feb 21, 2018 - 7:20AM

    Why can’t our country’s leadership play a proactive role and take action against all militant and pro-extremism parties and NGO’s? After all it is in Pakistan and its citizen’s benefit!! Even Saudi Arabia has started taking action against extremist clerics and promoting a more moderate image of the country.Recommend

  • Vineeth
    Feb 21, 2018 - 8:01AM

    As reported, its a three-month reprieve during which Pakistan will need to demonstrate that it is serious about cracking down on the banned organizations and their leaders. And that means no more fooling around with cosmetic farces like it was in the past.Recommend

  • Sweet
    Feb 21, 2018 - 10:00AM

    US decides when and who to be on the list.Pak is saved bcz US wanted it.Simple pressure technique.3 Months time is for atonement and action.Cosmetic measures won’t help.Act against all hurting your neighbours.Recommend

  • Giri
    Feb 21, 2018 - 11:56AM

    Let us meet again after 3 months. The drama is not ended. Just interval at the moment. The movie will start again. Do come back folks. It is not yet over. I promise you the end is going to be very interesting and tragic.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Feb 21, 2018 - 1:18PM

    During this 3 month reprieveterrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim will have an ‘encounter’ with the police and then ‘terminated’. There is no other escape plan for this land of the pure.Recommend

  • Arya Kshatriya
    Feb 21, 2018 - 1:27PM

    Well,it is a three month respite.Lets hope that Pakistan does some thing constructive in this three month period to convince the world as “How serious it is in dealing with such big issue as terror financing”Recommend

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