ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said Pakistan is hopeful with regard to the forthcoming meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which will review measures taken by Islamabad to combat money laundering – a potential source of terror financing.
In her weekly briefing, FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui stressed that “our international partners are standing with us”.
The remarks came a day after proscribed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his aide, Malik Zafar Iqbal, were sentenced to five-and-a-half-year imprisonment by a Lahore anti-terrorism court in connection with two terror-financing cases.
The next meeting of the FATF Plenary and Working Group, which is scheduled to held in Paris between Feb 16 and 21, will decide whether Pakistan will be removed from or remain on its grey list.
In the last meeting in January this year, key FATF players including the US, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, France in addition to Islamabad’s all-weather ally China gave Pakistan the much-needed pass to avoid being blacklisted. The meeting had observed that Pakistan was compliant on the 22-point agenda it was given to improve its performance for combating money laundering.
The spokesperson also commented on US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to India. She said the US decision to sell an integrated air-defence system to India as “disturbing” and said such a move would further destabilise an already volatile region.
She said the sale of such “sophisticated weapons to India will disturb the strategic balance in South Asia with security implications for Pakistan and the region”. “The defence relations between the US and India are contributing to the destabilisation of peace and security in South Asia.”
“It is time that these offers take on a material shape,” she said while speaking about Kashmir. “We are expecting he [Trump] will take up the matter with Narendra Modi during his visit.”
Talking about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day visit to the country, Farooqui said relations between the two countries are “not only close and friendly but are based on brotherhood”.
She further added that the Turkish president is accompanied by parliamentarians and investors from his country and would call upon Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi during his visit.
Farooqui also touched upon reports of the alleged presence of Ehsanullah Ehsan in Turkey and told reporters that the Ministry of Interior is currently monitoring reports.