At US urging, Pakistan to be placed on terrorism-financing list


Pakistan does not feature on the list of countries with strategic deficiencies posing a risk to the worldwide financial system issued along with the FATF statement following the meeting.

The meeting concluded Friday, February 23, without any explicit measures announced against Pakistan with respect to terrorism financing.

Similar claims were also reported by Reuters, a London-based news agency.

In June 2015, after strenuous efforts and the implementation of this action plan, Pakistan was de-listed from FATF's grey list.

Confusion about whether or not Pakistan has been put on a "grey list" by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) continued on Friday as a public statement by the worldwide watchdog announcing the outcomes of its plenary session held in Paris this week remained silent on the USA move to put the country on the watchlist.

If there is a failure to build consensus on the action plan, Pakistan could be black listed by FATF, a status now applied only to Iran and North Korea.

Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, in a weekly press briefing in Islamabad today, said Pakistan had serious concerns over the motion moved by the U.S. and United Kingdom at the FATF, Radio Pakistan reported. However, the list, called "jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies" available on FATF's website, does not include Pakistan.

He added that most of the concerns raised by the U.S. regarding deficiencies in the anti-money laundering regime and combating the financing of terrorism had already been addressed in 2015 when Pakistan got an exit from the "grey list".

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Pakistan fears the move will widen the country's global isolation, damage its already emaciated economy, hurt its banking sector and hinder its access to worldwide markets as it prepares to repay about US$3 billion (S$4 billion) in debt this summer.

On the same day as Asif's tweet, The Wall Street Journal had named China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia as the "friends" who had come forward to rescue Pakistan, saying that the three countries had blocked the US's motion to put Pakistan on the list.

China and Turkey are said to be opposing the US-sponsored proposal along with Saudi Arabia.

Before the big decision, the FATF had reviewed Pakistan's action against the financing of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), two groups linked to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba founder Hafiz Saeed, that have been sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

The June timetable gives Pakistan an opportunity to object to the FATF designation, though Pakistani officials have so far refused comment on the matter, The White House has made multiple statements that they are not satisfied with Pakistan.

"For the first time, we're holding Pakistan accountable for its actions".

The task force's plenary will decide and an announcement is expected either way on Friday evening when the body wraps up its three days of deliberations.