After FATF fiasco, govt looks inwards

Published: February 26, 2018
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 PHOTO :FILE

PHOTO :FILE

The government has decided to carry out an ‘internal review’ to look into the circumstances and reasons that led to Pakistan’s inclusion in the list of countries, which have not taken adequate measures to stop terror financing.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its recent meeting in Paris decided to place Pakistan on the watch-list from this summer, although the formal announcement would be made in June after Islamabad submits its plan of action to curb terror financing.

The inclusion of Pakistan in the ‘grey-list’ is seen as a major setback, as Islamabad failed to convince the intergovernmental body that it had taken enough measures against the terror financing.

What is more worrying is that its allies including China and Saudi Arabia also withdrew their support when the United States pressed for punitive action against Islamabad.

“This situation warrants a detailed internal review to look into all aspects and find out what exactly went wrong,” a senior government official said on Sunday while requesting anonymity.

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

The key aspects authorities are now looking at include the country’s failure to successfully present its case before the FATF. On top of it, the move by Saudi Arabia and China to withdraw their support at the last minute was also something that needs discussions.

In the run-up to the Paris meeting, Pakistan called the US-sponsored move as ‘politically motivated” and aimed at undermining its economic progress.

Officials during the background briefing insisted that the move was part of the Trump administration’s overall strategy to put pressure on Pakistan to do more in the fight against terrorism.

But Islamabad was more than hopeful that its ‘friends’ would come to its help.

“That did not happen, unfortunately,” the official admitted. The decision left Pakistani authorities in a tight spot, and the government has still not come up with any official reaction yet.

Officials privately confirmed that Pakistan would indeed be placed on the FATF’s terror financing global watch-list from June, but would not offer any comment on the record.

FATF yet to take decision on putting Pakistan on terror financing watch-list: Indian media

Pakistan mounted a major diplomatic offensive soon after the US moved a motion before the FATF to place it on the global terror financing watch list. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail visited key western capitals to garner their support. A couple of other ministers also quietly travelled to FATF-member countries.

But all those frantic diplomatic efforts made little impact. Only three countries – China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – pledged their support. Because of support from those three countries, consensus could not be achieved to move against Pakistan at the pre-plenary meeting of FATF.

The move prompted Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who was in Moscow on an official visit, to announce through a tweet that Pakistan had escaped from being placed on the ‘grey list.’

But the US managed to successfully persuade Saudi Arabia to withdraw its support for Pakistan, while China largely maintained stoic silence. With only Turkey solidly standing behind Pakistan, the motion sailed through the FATF session.

Some quarters in Pakistan have cited Asif’s premature tweet as one of the factors that compounded Pakistan’s problems at the FATF.

 

 

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Pakistani
    Feb 26, 2018 - 9:03AM

    When you have losers like Kh. Asif as FM, what else is expected?Recommend

  • fahim
    Feb 26, 2018 - 10:10AM

    Is this news even authentic that PAkistan has been placed in grey list or in June there will be another vote to include Pakistan in greylist ?Recommend

  • Faraz
    Feb 26, 2018 - 10:23AM

    “Some quarters in Pakistan have cited Asif’s premature tweet as one of the factors that compounded Pakistan’s problems at the FATF.”
    Another feather in the cap of the experienced team. Recommend

  • Hashim
    Feb 26, 2018 - 11:05AM

    @fahim:
    Obviously why not authentic…Recommend

  • PiS
    Feb 26, 2018 - 11:52AM

    As a Pakistani, I am baffled that the government needs a report to tell them what went wrong. Are you kidding me? How long are we going to keep acting like a rouge state and wondering why the world doesn’t love us? SHAME ON US.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Feb 26, 2018 - 11:57AM

    Don’t forget that china benefits if Pakistan is reliant heavily on it. Our foreign policy is non existent and the country is doomed to fail if no action is taken. All indications are that the government had warned the army of isolation but instead of taking head it turned into dawn leaks scandal.Recommend

  • pessimist
    Feb 26, 2018 - 12:01PM

    @fahim:

    “Is this news even authentic that PAkistan has been placed in grey list or in June there will be another vote to include Pakistan in greylist ?”

    Between now and June, Pakistan is supposed to submit an action plan to address the issue. It will be reviewed by FATF in June and if accepted it will place Pakistan on the grey list. If the action plan by Pak is deemed insufficient or if Pak doesn’t cooperate with the action plan, it will be placed on the BLACK LIST that includes Iran and North Korea. So, Pakistan will definitely be placed on the grey list in June escapes the Black List.

    Hope that helpsRecommend

  • Tyggar
    Feb 26, 2018 - 12:28PM

    India supported China for Vice Chairmanship of FATF and China withdrew its support to Pakistan. Quid Pro Quo.

    There is no such thing as “Friendship” in International relations. When will Pakistan understand this basic concept?Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 26, 2018 - 12:38PM

    Pakistan should abide by terror financing conventions, but it is also time to declare neutrality in the US led debacle in Afghanistan.

    That means we can no longer be the conduit for Nato supplies and be absolutely neutral amongst the protagonists in Afghanistan as this is a civil war in a country under foreign occupation.Recommend

  • Shak
    Feb 26, 2018 - 12:39PM

    World has issued FATFa against Pakistan.Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Feb 26, 2018 - 12:48PM

    quote “What is more worrying is that its allies including China and Saudi Arabia also withdrew their support when the United States pressed for punitive action against Islamabad ” unquote.

    My dear friends, even our best friends did not support us ? 100% failure of our foreign policy. Recommend

  • Amir
    Feb 26, 2018 - 1:32PM

    It is a failure of Pakistan diplomacy and worth with whom it considers it’s friends.

    It’s a failure of Domestic policy to reign in fundamental religious groups who are always talking against Western countries but are in front line trying to get visas to visit them

    Failure of PR to pitch Pakistan sacrifices in this war and actions taken in FATA

    And most Important failure to implement NAPRecommend

  • Simon
    Feb 26, 2018 - 3:06PM

    @Dahin: as of now Pakistan isn’t placed in the list. But it is already under the scrutiny till June.So,in a way it’s unofficial placement now. And there is not going to be any more voting in June. Recommend

  • Hasan.Khan
    Feb 26, 2018 - 5:00PM

    Yes ,do serious internalizing. Have senior Bankers run the Central Bank who know and understand AML.

    In Pakistan, FBR cannot access Bank Account information due to some stay order from Court.How can International Community have confidence.Please clean up the act.Recommend

  • not in UK
    Feb 27, 2018 - 3:17AM

    “The key aspects authorities are now looking at include the country’s failure to successfully present its case before the FATF.”

    What will the best lawyer do if the case is weak? Who has weakened the case? Those who made the article by Cyril Almeida on Oct 6, 2016 controversial by the name of Dawn Leaks. And no it was not the civilians.Recommend

  • not in UK
    Feb 27, 2018 - 3:19AM

    @Pakistani: “When you have losers like Kh. Asif as FM, what else is expected?”
    So superman RS is in KSA leading the army of the ummah isn’t it? How come he had no influence on KSA? Army is protecting all Chinese investments in CPEC isn’t it? How come it had no influence on China? Gen. Bajwa gave a major speech in Germany just days before the Paris moot isn’t it? How come it did not change anyone’s mind?Recommend

  • not in UK
    Feb 27, 2018 - 3:22AM

    @ishrat salim: “My dear friends, even our best friends did not support us ? 100% failure of our foreign policy. ”

    100% agree. And who runs your foreign policy? (Hint: not the civilians).Recommend

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