Pakistani delegation in Beijing to face FATF review starting Tuesday

In this file photo, the logo of the FATF (the Financial Action Task Force) is seen during a news conference after a plenary session at the OECD Headquarters in Paris on Oct. 18, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Updated 20 January 2020

Pakistani delegation in Beijing to face FATF review starting Tuesday

  • The country will discuss progress made on 22 action points while claims to have complied with five
  • The three-day talks come ahead of global watchdog’s plenary session in February

KARACHI: Pakistani delegation of experts has reached Beijing to participate in the three-day talks with the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) starting January 21.
The global money laundering watchdog is holding face-to-face meetings ahead of its plenary session in Paris next month to decide Pakistan’s fate as the South Asian nation makes efforts to avoid blacklisting.
The Pakistani team headed by Minister for Economic Affairs Division, Hammad Azhar, will discuss the progress made on the implementation of 22 action points, out of 27, suggested by the global watchdog while the country claims to have complied with five.
The FATF working group technical team will review Pakistan’s 650-page report filed on January 8, 2020 in response to the 150 questions by the Working Group raised on the country’s initial progress report submitted on December 03, 2019 regarding the implementation of the 27-point action plan.
Pakistan is hopeful to win a ‘largely-compliant’ rating by FATF even if it does not make it out of the grey-list at the moment, which can buy the country more time for full compliance.
“Based on the results we have provided to FATF, we are optimistic. On majority of action items, we are complaint and have made reasonable and significant progress,” Mansoor Hassan Siddiqui, Director General of Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of Pakistan’s central bank, told Arab News last week.
In October last year, FATF gave Pakistan until February 2020 to make swift progress on the given action plan after observing that the country had only made “limited progress” to curb terrorism financing and money laundering.
Pakistan has amended its laws dealing with anti-money laundering proposing harsh punishment and enhanced financial penalties. Country’s suggested amendments in Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947 (FERA) and Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2010 were passed by the parliament are in process of being promulgated as law.
Pakistan is also taking steps to safeguard saving schemes against ill-gotten money and terror financing through promulgation of National Savings Schemes (AML-CFT) Rules, 2019.
“Pakistan has made substantial progress and is compliant to large extent but we are not fully compliant so far. In the upcoming plenary meeting that will be held in Paris we need three votes to avoid blacklisting that we have,” Muzamil Aslam, senior economists who is closely monitoring the developments, told Arab News. “We are not going to be blacklisted.”
Amid growing opposition from arch rival India, Pakistan has also enhanced its diplomatic efforts ahead of the next month’s meeting to avoid blacklisting especially the recent visit of Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to United States where he sought US support and hoped that the it would back Pakistan in the upcoming meeting.
“America will be the swing factor. If the US supports Pakistan on the progress we made against terror financing and terrorism, we can immediately move out of the grey-list to white,” Aslam commented.

Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

Updated 30 min 2 sec ago

Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

  • Pakistan and India are political foes and have one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world
  • Tuesday’s win by India was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans who called it “one of the greatest test match wins of all time”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani social media users rejoiced on Tuesday as India bagged an incredible three-wicket win in the fourth test decider against Australia.

India’s Rishabh Pant timed his innings to perfection, ramping up the aggression in a stellar 89 as India stormed to a record 328-run chase at the Gabba and became the first team to beat the hosts at the Brisbane stronghold since the West Indies in 1988.

Pakistan and India are political archrivals and fierce opponents in the cricket field. But Tuesday’s win was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans on Twitter, who called it one of “the greatest test series and test match wins of all time.”

“From 36 all out in the same series to winning it on Australia soil. Wow,” former cricketer and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wrote.

“Investing in your players, giving them financial security, protecting them, giving them exposure, having A team tours is eventually bound to pay off. Well done India,” said cricket manager Rehan ulHaq.

“India basically pulled off one of the greatest test series and test match wins of all time,” said Uzair Younus, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “To win Down Under [Australia] is an achievement on its own. But to do it when several first-team players are out injured is a whole new level of achievement. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.”

“Given results, their injuries, and lack thereof of the home side, this Indian team is probably the greatest from South Asia to tour Australia,” said Umair Javed, an assistant professor at LUMS, Pakistan’s most prestigious private university.

“Cricket is the winner (and Australia the loser),” Javed said in another tweet.

“What a fight back by Indian cricket team in the series, they’ve played quality cricket. From 36-all out in first test to 2-1 up. Commendable. Love and respect from Pakistan,” Twitter user Taliha said, posting one of thousands of tweets praising the Indian team’s performance.

“Tremendous cricket by Indians,” Haider Rasool wrote. “Love from Pakistan.”

One Indian Twitter user posted: “Thank you Pakistan. Today’s win is ever more special because of support from neighbor.”

Strained relations between the two nations, who were one country before the partition of British India split them into India and Pakistan in 1947, and a decades-long dispute over the Himalayan valley of Kashmir conflict, has laid the foundations of one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world.

Pakistan and Indian have not played a bilateral Test series since 2008 when already brittle ties were shattered by the Mumbai terror attacks.