ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Monday rejected the Indian defence minister’s recent remark that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) could “blacklist Pakistan for terror financing at any time”.
According to a press release issued by the FO spokesperson, Rajnath Singh’s statement “reinforces Pakistan’s concerns, repeatedly highlighted to the FATF membership, about India’s attempts to politicise the FATF proceedings to further its narrow, partisan objectives”.
As per Indian media reports, on October 1, Singh said: “The FATF can [at] any time blacklist Pakistan for terror financing.”
The FO press release added that “India’s incessant smear campaign against Pakistan and blatant partisanship” called into question its credentials to be a co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group that reviews Pakistan’s progress in implementing the FATF action plan.
“Our concerns in this regard have been previously brought to the attention of FATF members,” the FO spokesperson added, while expressing hope that the FATF would take notice of India’s “continuing malicious campaign” against Pakistan and reject any attempt that was aimed at politicising FATF proceedings.
“It is important for FATF to ensure that the process remains fair and unbiased,” the press release stated.
The FO clarification comes a week ahead of FATF’s review meetings in Paris between Oct 13-18 that will determine whether Pakistan should remain or move out of the grey list or be put on the blacklist.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera TV in September, Prime Minister Imran Khan alleged that New Delhi was trying to bankrupt Pakistan and push it into the FATF blacklist.
Meanwhile, a Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) released on Sunday by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) — a regional affiliate of the FATF — showed that Pakistan was “non-compliant” on four out of 40 recommendations of the APG on the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism system.
The report based on Pakistan’s performance as of October 2018 showed that the country was fully “compliant” only on one aspect relating to financial institutions secrecy laws. It was found “partially compliant” on 26 recommendations and “largely compliant” on nine others.