Pakistan says has 'broad' international support in FATF assessment

Pakistan was placed on the FATF “grey list” in June 2018 after it was nominated by the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany. (Photo courtesy: @theFATF/Facebook)
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Updated 24 October 2020

Pakistan says has 'broad' international support in FATF assessment

  • Minister Hammad Azhar describes FATF ‘consensus decision without any voting’ to keep Pakistan on its grey list as a ‘diplomatic victory’
  • Former federal minister, Miftah Ismail, says FATF is not just looking for a robust legal framework but also its effective implementation

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said on Saturday that Pakistan enjoyed broad international support at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), though the global financial watchdog did not remove its name from the list of countries with inadequate controls over terror financing.
Pakistan was placed on the FATF “grey list” in June 2018 after it was nominated by the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany. Ever since, the country has tried to address the concerns of the world community by strengthening its financial and legal frameworks to reduce the possibility of their manipulation by criminal elements.
“FATF has acknowledged our high-level political commitment and significant progress,” Azhar said in a Twitter post. “Yesterday’s consensus decision without any voting is our diplomatic victory.” Azhar said in a tweet.
He criticized people for spreading baseless information about negative voting against the country at the forum.
“Some countries mentioned in the fake news are not even members of FATF,” he continued. “Pakistan enjoys broad international support and cooperation on FATF.”


The country’s former federal minister for finance, revenue and economic affairs, Miftah Ismael, who also engaged the global financial watchdog on the issue before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the 2018 elections, said the FATF wanted greater coordination between the federal and provincial agencies.
“FATF is not just looking for Pakistan to enact more laws but also how well it coordinates between federal and provincial agencies and implements these laws,” he told Arab News.

Ismail said that Pakistan should have come out of the grey list in the last two years since it had ample time, but the government could not meet all the international requirements.
“The government says we have largely achieved 21 points and are now striving to fulfill the remaining six conditions. These mostly deal with prosecuting terror financers and freezing assets of designated people,” he explained.
Pakistan’s former ambassador Abdul Basit said that the country continued to be on the grey list not only because of its diplomatic failings also due to the vagaries of international politics.
“FATF is all about politics,” he said. “Pakistan is not a member country of the global watchdog and we are not there at the plenary. So, we bank on our friends who have their own limitations.”

 

 

Basit noted that Pakistan should continue to count on Saudi Arabia, China, and Malaysia, though he also added that the global financial platform was largely dominated by western powers that were led by the US.
“We cannot expect the western group to rescue us without giving something in return,” he continued. “The question is: What do we have to offer? Is it going to be something related to Afghanistan or some other issue? That is what we need to find out.”
The Pakistani diplomat, however, added he was hopeful that the country would come out of the grey list by the middle of the next year.

 


PM's adviser denies UAE ban on import of workers from Pakistan

Updated 26 November 2020

PM's adviser denies UAE ban on import of workers from Pakistan

  • Zulfikar Bukhari says the number of Pakistani knowledge workers in the UAE has increased by 11 percent
  • Foreign office spokesperson rejects media reports characterizing 'the attitude of UAE authorities toward Pakistan as hostile'

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari denied a media report on Thursday, saying the United Arab Emirates had not imposed a ban on the import of Pakistani workforce.
According to a story published by Reuters on Wednesday, the UAE had stopped issuing new visas to the citizens of 13 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan.
The wire service maintained that it had seen a document issued by a state-owned business park in the Gulf state and quoted an unnamed source that claimed that the decision was taken due to security reasons.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari holds a virtual meeting with United Arab Emirates Minister for Human Resources and Emiratization Nasser bin Thani in Islamabad on November 26, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis)

Bukhari said in a Twitter post on Thursday, however, that he had discussed the issue with a top UAE official who categorically denied that such a ban had been imposed on the import of Pakistani workforce.

He added that the number of "Pakistani knowledge workers" had increased in the UAE by 11 percent, adding that the Pakistani nationals who were laid off during the pandemic and registered on Virtual Labor Market Databases were given priority.

Addressing the weekly media briefing, Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri also maintained that the media report was not confirmed by the UAE authorities.
"The developments regarding a change in visa policy of the UAE for Pakistani nationals and its purported causes have not been confirmed by the UAE," he said during the press briefing on Thursday.
Chaudhri said the foreign ministry was in touch with UAE officials in this connection.
"We do not agree with the media reports that characterize the attitude of UAE authorities toward Pakistan as hostile," he continued, adding that millions of Pakistanis worked and peacefully resided in the Gulf country with the approval of its government.
"Isolated events should not be used to cast aspersions over the nature of Pakistan’s longstanding fraternal ties with the UAE," he said.