Pakistan likely to be put on terror-financing watch list as FATF meets in Paris

PARIS: A six-day meeting of the Financial Action Task Force, a global body that combats terrorist financing and money laundering, begins today.

The meeting has potentially grave implications for Pakistan following a move, orchestrated by the US and supported by its allies, to place Pakistan on the watchlist of countries that financially aid terrorism.

Official reveal that the prime minister’s finance adviser, Miftah Ismail, visited Germany, Netherlands and Belgium last week in an attempt to garner support against the US move. Similarly, power minister Awais Leghari visited Malaysia recently in this regard.

Official said of the 35 permanent members of the FATF, only China supports Pakistan whereas the rest are likely to fall behind the US resolution.

Pakistan’s international credit rating could suffer a setback as a result of being placed on the list, as several global financial institutions are influenced by the FATF, which includes around 700 members in total, including the United Nations, European Commission, Inter­nati­onal Monetary Fund and World Bank.

On Feb 16, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press briefing that a resolution to place Pakistan on the global terror-financing watch list had been submitted to the FATF. The spokesperson explained that the US had been concerned about Pakistan’s actions for a long time.

“We have therefore decided that we want to place Pakistan on an international watch list. Further details about the matter are confidential, and cannot be revealed at the moment,” Nauert informed.

Reacting to the US move, the Foreign Office (FO) said Pakistan has serious concerns regarding the American resolution.

At his weekly media briefing, FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said “such motions are aimed at hampering the economic growth of Pakistan”.

The spokesperson stressed that Pakistan remains committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the ongoing terrorist-combating operations by the Pakistan military are proof of the country’s commitment towards combating this menace.

‘FATF protects the international financial system’

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in July 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in Paris. Its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse, according to the institute’s website.

The FATF currently comprises 35 members and two regional organisations, representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe along with observer countries, organisations and associate members.