WASHINGTON: Pakistan Ambassador to the United States (US) Ali Jenhangir Siddiqui on Friday said that there would not be any major impact on the country’s economy after being placed on a watch list by an international task force, adding, that Islamabad hoped to get off the list within 15 months.
“After being put on the watch list by Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the government has vowed to further tighten rules against money laundering and be in compliance to keep Pakistan off the list,” he said during an interview to a foreign media outlet.
The ambassador said that if the development could impact the country’s economy and the bond market, there would be a “very slight impact”.
“Pakistani economy has recovered significantly in the past few years, posting a 5.5 growth in the previous financial year. The multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative has given a tremendous boost to the economy and investment,” he said.
He also said that Pakistan was on the grey list some years ago, but now the goals posts had moved a little in terms of (new) requirements. “Pakistan has all the intent to take measures to be fully in compliance with the body requirements.”
“Pakistan remained on the watch list for three years until 2015, when it took certain measures to meet the standards set by FATF to be removed from the list. However, it was placed on the list once again in June 2018, after being pushed hard by the US.”
Ambassador Siddiqui said that FATF was a multilateral body and kept coming up with new recommendations to prevent terror financing. “We intend to be in compliance over the next 15 months and get off the grey list again,” he added.
Responding to a question, the ambassador said that getting out of the grey list was a “hard priority” for the Pakistani government. He said that Pakistan’s Finance minister was in Paris to meet the officials at the FATF headquarters and they were quite hopeful that they would be in compliance.
Replying to a question ‘if the US had closed its doors on Pakistan’, the ambassador said the Trump administration had a lot on its plate and Pakistan recognised that.
“But the Trump administration recognises the importance of its relations with Pakistan; they recognise the importance of achieving peace in Afghanistan,” he said alluding to the area of a shared interest where two countries were working together. “We have not found any closed doors,” he concluded.