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.