ISLAMABAD: A day after New Delhi “confessed” it lobbied to ensure that Islamabad remained on the so-called grey list of the Financial Action Task Force, Pakistan on Monday said it was considering approaching the money laundering watchdog for an “appropriate action”.
In its latest meeting in June, the Paris-based agency that operates with a formal legal authority had retained Pakistan on the list despite significant progress and addressing 26 out of 27 items on the original action plan handed over to Islamabad in June 2018.
At the time, FATF president Marcus Pleyer acknowledged “substantial progress” made by Pakistan except the last item concerning the investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of groups designated by the UN as militant organisations.
Although Pleyer did not mention any names, he was referring to Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed — leaders of the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed and Jamaatud Dawah groups, respectively — who are accused, and wanted, by New Delhi on charges of terrorism.
The demand is also backed by Washington, London and Paris, although they like New Delhi do not provide any credible evidence.
On Sunday, Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar, while addressing a virtual training programme on foreign policy for Bhartiya Janata Party leaders, said it was due to Indian efforts that Pakistan was “under the lens” of the watchdog and it was “kept in the grey list”.
“We have been successful in pressurising Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan’s behaviour has changed is because of pressure put by India by various measures,” he added.
Responding to Jaishankar’s remarks, the Foreign Office observed “India’s credentials for assessing Pakistan in FATF as co-chair” of the body or “for that matter, any other country[‘s] are subject to questions, which we urge FATF to look into.”
“Pakistan has always been highlighting to the international community the politicisation of FATF and undermining of its processes by India. The recent Indian statement is just further corroboration of its continued efforts to use an important technical forum for its narrow political designs against Pakistan,” it said in a statement.
“While Pakistan has been sincerely and constructively engaged with FATF during the implementation of the Action Plan, India has left no stone unturned in casting doubts on Pakistan’s progress through disgraceful means.
“Pakistan has been exposing India’s duplicitous role to the international community in the past and it will also bring this recent confession by India to the notice of FATF and broader international community.”
The statement observed Islamabad’s “immense progress in AML/CTF [anti-money laundering/counter terror financing] domain demonstrated through concrete, tangible and verifiable actions has been openly acknowledged by FATF”.
It said Pakistan had resolved to sustain the momentum and trajectory with the support and cooperation of its international partners. “India’s delusions of putting pressure on Pakistan have always remained unfulfilled and would never see the light of day,” it said.
The statement also reaffirmed Islamabad’s commitment to bring its counter-terror regimes to international standards only for its own good and also to fulfil the country’s international obligations and commitments.
It said it will do so “despite distractions including the politicisation of FATF processes by certain jurisdictions”.