Sources claim Pakistan back on FATF watch-list, govt says no ‘official intimation’ yet

Published: February 23, 2018
Diplomatic source reveals China, GCC dropped their opposition. PHOTO: FATF

Diplomatic source reveals China, GCC dropped their opposition. PHOTO: FATF

ISLAMABAD: A global money-laundering watchdog has placed Pakistan back on its terrorist financing watch list, Indian media and a diplomatic source said on Friday, in a likely blow to both Pakistan’s economy and its strained relations with the United States.

The move is part of a broader US strategy to pressure Pakistan to cut alleged links to militants waging chaos in neighbouring Afghanistan.

It comes days after reports that Pakistan had been given a three-month reprieve before being placed on the list, which could hamper banking and hurt foreign investment.

A non-Indian diplomatic source from one of the FATF countries confirmed that the group had decided Pakistan would be put back on the watchlist.

However, US and Indian officials had called the claim ‘premature’ and said a final decision was still to come, The Hindu reported.

Pakistan could face economic pain from return to terrorist financing ‘grey list’

Dr Faisal, spokesperson for the foreign office (FO), on Friday during a question and answer session said that, “Pakistan has serious concerns over and objections to the introduction of this new ‘nomination’ procedure which is unprecedented and in clear violation of established rules/practices of FATF.”

“Once things get clearer, we will be able to comment on Pak-US relations in this context,” said Faisal on the future of Pak-US relations.

He further added that all of US’ concerns had been addressed and resolved in 2015 when Pakistan was removed from the watch list. “In 2009 FATF identified “strategic deficiencies” in Pakistan’s Anti-Money Laundering(AML)/Combating the Finance of Terrorism (CFT) regime. To overcome these deficiencies, Pakistan agreed to implement FAFT’s Action Plan. As a consequence, the State Bank of Pakistan introduced a comprehensive set of new rules and guidelines on CFT/AML. Standalone legislation on Money Laundering was also enacted by the Parliament to deal with AML issues,” Faisal added.

“In June 2015, after strenuous efforts, the implementation of this Action Plan was completed and Pakistan was de-listed from FATF’s grey list. This exit was an acknowledgment of the robustness of Pakistan’s CFT/AML regime and well in line with international standards,” he said to the media.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal also took to Twitter on Friday, urging against speculation on the sensitive matter until there was official confirmation of the FATF decision.

“It was a general comment,” he added.

Earlier in the week China, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were opposing the US-led move against Pakistan but by Thursday night both China and the GCC dropped their opposition, the diplomatic source said.

Iqbal sought to thank Turkey for its unwavering support “against all odds”.

“The decision was taken yesterday,” the diplomat said.

He added that the financial consequences would not kick in until June, which, in theory, could allow Pakistan the wriggle room to fix the terrorist financing issues. “But the odds of that, particularly in an election year, seem slim,” he added.

Washington has spent the past week lobbying member countries of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan on the so-called “grey list” of nations that are not doing enough to combat terrorism financing.

Pakistan’s last-minute efforts to avoid being placed on the list, which included taking over bodies linked to a powerful figure, proved insufficient, India’s Republic news service and Times Now television channel said.

US concerned over Pakistan’s ‘deficiencies in implementing anti-money laundering, counterterrorism laws’

An official statement was expected later on Friday.

Pakistan was previously on the list for three years until 2015.

Pakistani officials and analysts fear being on the FATF watchlist could endanger its handful of remaining banking links to the outside world, causing real financial pain to the economy just as a general election looms in the summer.

Under FATF rules one country’s opposition is not enough to prevent a motion from being successful. Britain, France and Germany backed the US move.

Islamabad has sought to head off the move by amending its anti-terrorism laws and by taking over organisations controlled by Hafiz Saeed whom Washington blames for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that Pakistan had received a 3-month reprieve, adding that it was “grateful to friends who helped”.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Hatim
    Feb 23, 2018 - 2:52PM

    How about khawaja Asif resign now? These no good ministers are sinking Pakistand ship.Recommend

  • Vineeth
    Feb 23, 2018 - 2:53PM

    Pakistanis did not believe it when Indian media came out with the news, despite being aware that India happens to be a member of FATF and knows first-hand what happened during the bote today. Pakistan is not a member of FATF and has to depend on secondary sources.Recommend

  • Jingi khan
    Feb 23, 2018 - 2:55PM

    Huge embarassment and historic international humiliation for Pakistan to be put on Terrorist Financing watchlist.

    Forget Russia, not even China or KSA voted for Pakistan and Pakistan lost 36 to 1 . Only Turkey voted in favour of Pakistan. Pakistan is getting isolated whether we accept it or not.Recommend

  • Vineeth
    Feb 23, 2018 - 2:56PM

    When Pakistan chose to poke US in the eye over the Haqqanis it did not know that the Americans have many economic leverages, even over trusted Pakistani allies such as China. So much for the premature bravado of Khwaja Asif. Congrats for yet another feather on the Pakistani cap.Recommend

  • Nasir Yasir
    Feb 23, 2018 - 2:58PM

    Failure of the government’s foreign policies.Recommend

  • Mullah Rahim
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:05PM

    This is what happens when UN designated global terrorists like Hafeez Saeed are allowed to launch political parties and Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, JuD, Haqqanis etc. receive patronage.

    World will no longer accept Pakistan’s flirtations with “Good terrorists” and global community can no longer be fooled by our “non-state actor” theory. Time for introspection and course correction.Recommend

  • salman
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:07PM

    Indian source ?Recommend

  • asim
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:08PM

    Pak should bring back its troops from SA nowRecommend

  • Lilly
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:08PM

    What’s happening in Pakistan? Why contradicting information passed onto the people until a clear cut decision being taken in FATF? Please don’t make fools out of the citizens.Recommend

  • Javaid Iqbal
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:09PM

    Must thank former foreign minister Nawaz Sharif and current Khawaja Asif for their good policies.Recommend

  • Shah Alam
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:14PM

    Shame, shame and only shame for Pakistan. Who will buy our Sukkuk and Euro bonds now ?.

    Pakistan has to decide whether it wants terrorist attacks in Kabul & Kashmir or development thru CPEC ?. Both cannot happen together. Choice has to be made.Recommend

  • reader
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:17PM

    Can so many nations be wrong, Pakistan has to think and work very hard, to improve. Recommend

  • Ashton
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:30PM

    So, Khwaja Asif lies to Pakistan again. So what’s new?Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:31PM

    Pakistan obviously needs China a lot more than the other way around.Recommend

  • Khurram
    Feb 23, 2018 - 3:43PM

    Khwaja Asif openly lied to the whole nation that Pakistan has been given 3 months extension. This was proved to be a big fat lie with no basis and was just intended to fool the public and gather their praises. He should be asked to resign for thinking all of us are fools.Recommend

  • Sarfarosh
    Feb 23, 2018 - 4:16PM

    Why did China withdraw its objection?Recommend

  • Yank
    Feb 23, 2018 - 4:18PM

    Perhaps the Interior Minister should have asked the Foreign Minister “Do Not Speculate” earlier in the week ?Recommend

  • dhe
    Feb 23, 2018 - 4:34PM

    Actually reuters is a news aggregation entity, it collects breaking news and information and sells it to other news media around the world. It’s similar to the Associated News of India(ANI)Recommend

  • Sumair Mufti
    Feb 23, 2018 - 8:43PM

    When companies like Axact can launder millions under the noses of authorities without ever being questioned until an American newspaper exposes them goes to show that everyone is on the take. Recommend

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