Suspicious of New Delhi’s penchant to use mischief and subterfuge to place Islamabad in a difficult spot, the latter has asked the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove India from the co-chair of a body that is reviewing progress on implementation of an action plan. The move is designed to defeat India’s cleverly-crafted strategy to get Pakistan blacklisted.
Finance Minister Asad Umar has asked the FATF President Marshall Billingslea to appoint any other member as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific’s Joint Group, in place of India, to ensure that the FATF review process is fair, unbiased and objective.
The Joint Group is a sub-body of the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of the Asia Pacific Group. Pakistan is a member of the APG and its case is being presented before the FATF by the APG. India’s Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) director general is the co-chair of the Joint Group.
In seeking to get New Delhi stripped of a dominant role on a key panel, the minister cited India’s animosity towards Pakistan, saying that the recent violation of Pakistan’s airspace and dropping of bombs inside Pakistani territory is another manifestation of India’s hostile attitude.
In an exclusive talk, Asad Umar told this paper that India submitted a separate dossier against Pakistan that undermined the FATF’s neutrality. But he hastened to add that Pakistan would not boycott the FATF process but will use every available avenue to make sure that India no more politicises the global body.
In his letter, the finance minister referred to a statement regarding efforts for global isolation of Pakistan which demonstrated Indian intentions to hurt the latter’s economic interests. Umar has written the missive about two months before Joint Group would review implementation on over 15 points of the agreed Action Plan.
The Joint Group meeting is scheduled to take place in May in Sri Lanka. After that, the FATF Plenary meeting will be held in the United States in June this year. The global body must address Islamabad’s genuine concerns before these two crucial sessions.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2019.
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