- Rana Afzal says being on FATF will discourage foreign investors
- NA blames poor foreign policy for Pakistan’s likely inclusion in watch list
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday lashed out at the United States for its attempt to put the country on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) watch list, saying the move is “unprecedented, politically motivated” and aims to hamper economic growth.
The FATF, an intergovernmental organisation, sets global standards against illicit finance, is set to meet next week to take up the motion jointly moved by the US and the UK and also backed by Germany and France.
During his weekly media briefing, the FO spokesperson said that the FATF is an international body that sets standards relating to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. “Such motions are aimed to hamper the economic growth of Pakistan”, he added.
He said that Pakistan remains committed to combating terrorism in all forms and manifestations and ongoing terrorist combating operations by Pakistan army are proof of our commitment towards defeating this menace which was created by others.
He stated that Pakistan was never apologetic regarding its foreign policy and is fully committed and capable of defending itself against any act of aggression.
“We expect the international community to take cognisance of the belligerent and repeated Indian statements against Pakistan, which are not only against the international law but also threatens regional peace and security”, said Dr Faisal.
Since 2015, time and again the goalposts have been shifted for reporting by Pakistan. This has made it into a never-ending monitoring process. The objective of raising these new issues seems to be to suddenly raise an alarm on the overall integrity of Pakistan’s AML/CFT framework.
He further said the initiation of this action without waiting for completion of Pakistan’s Mutual Evaluation was designed to manipulate the FATF process.
“The real aim of this politically-motivated move is to hamper Pakistan’s economic progress,” the spokesperson told reporters.
MINISTER FEARS ECONOMIC HARM: Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal echoed the FO’s apprehension regarding the economic harm to the country. He said that foreign investment in Pakistan will suffer if the country is put on a global terrorist-financing watch-list.
The minister further said that the US is forcing other countries to join the motion, adding that foreign investors will be reluctant to spend money in the country if this happens.
Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avert being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with terrorist financing regulations by the FATF; officials fear these developments could hurt its economy.
The US has been threatening to get tough with Islamabad over its alleged ties with militants, and last month President Donald Trump’s administration suspended aid worth about $2 billion.
PAKISTAN MANEUVERING TO BE NOT PUT ON LIST:
The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail, told Reuters the United States and Britain put forward the motion several weeks ago, and later persuaded France and Germany to co-sponsor it.
“We are now working with the US, UK, Germany and France for the nomination to be withdrawn,” Ismail said, speaking by telephone from Europe. “We are also quite hopeful that even if the US did not withdraw the nomination that we will prevail and not be put on the watch-list.”
National Assembly on Thursday expressed concerns over the United States’ efforts to put Pakistan on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), saying the move was a failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy and success of Indian narrative of alienating Pakistan.
NA BLAMES POOR FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE MOVE: Lawmakers belonging to multiple political parties showed apprehensions at the failure of diplomacy of the country, as some of them blamed the government for ignoring the issues on the diplomatic front and focussing on the political gains.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shireen Mazari criticised the government for failing to cash in on the arrest of Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav, saying that “despite the arrest of the Indian spy, Pakistan could not tell the international community that it is India which is involved in terrorism, not Pakistan”.
She chided the ruling party for ignoring the diplomatic front and said that “the entire focus has been on mujhay kion nikala”.
Criticising the government for its failure to formulate the foreign policy, she said it was the failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy that a resolution was being moved against it.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Naveed Qamar, who was chairing the sitting due to the absence of the speaker and deputy speaker, demanded that the foreign or interior minister brief the assembly on the issue.
However, the minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Riaz Hussain Peerzada, told the house that both foreign and the interior ministers were on foreign tours and the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad would brief the house.
The Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai said no government minister bothered to tell the people of Pakistan about this issue. “It is the right of the house that the foreign office tells it what is happening,” he remarked.