ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday expressed its readiness to take further steps to curb terror financing only days after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed the Islamabad on the global terror financing watch-list.
The decision was taken last week during a meeting of the intergovernmental body that sets global standards against the illicit finance but wit no official confirmation either from FATF or Pakistan.
The foreign office, however, finally broke its silence and came out to confirm that the country would go on a ‘grey-list’ from June this year.
“Pakistan will be assigned to the ‘grey-list’ in June, once an Action Plan has been mutually negotiated,” Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal told reporters at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad.
He, however, clarified in a statement that the country would be transferred from the ‘grey’ to ‘black’ list in June of this year, was false.
“The FATF website clearly demarcates the countries in ‘black’ list, as those who are non-cooperative,” he added.
When asked to comment on the specific demands made by FATF, the spokesperson said the task force highlighted certain deficiencies in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) framework of Pakistan.
“The government of Pakistan, over the last few years, has taken numerous steps to address these issues, including through enactment of legislation, issuance of regulations and guidelines by SBP and SECP to the financial sector, establishment of the Financial Monitoring Unit and implementation of UNSC 1267 sanctions on the entities of concern (JuD/FIF),” he said.
“We will take further steps to address any remaining shortcomings,” Faisal said.
Earlier, Pakistan had called the move as politically motivated aiming to target its economic growth. But the latest statement by the foreign office suggested that despite reservations, Pakistan is ready to address the FATF concerns.
US giving mixed signals
On the recent statements by certain US officials where on the one hand they acknowledged Pakistan’s role in the anti-terror war but are yet again pointed out the continued alleged presence of the Haqqani network in its territory, the spokesperson said Pakistan continued to get ‘different signals’ from different parts of the US government.
“General Votel, as you mentioned, appreciated the positive indicators from Pakistan. Islamabad has made immense efforts to address issues related to counter-terrorism. We continue to ask the US for actionable evidence,” he said.
However, Lisa Curtis, the senior aide of President Trump, during her two-day visit to Islamabad delivered a stern message asking Pakistan to address the continued presence of the Haqqani network as well as other alleged terror groups on its soil.
No meeting between Indo-Pak diplomats
Answering a question, the spokesperson said there was no meeting planned between the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India at the sidelines of the ongoing Kabul process meeting in Afghanistan.
He also said that was unaware if the Indian foreign secretary would be visiting Islamabad in the coming days when his attention was drawn towards certain India media reports.