FATF Action Plan: Asad Umar asks FATF president to remove India as co-chair to ensure impartial assessment

Published March 9, 2019
Finance Minister Asad Umar's letter to FATF refers to India's "clear motivation to hurt Pakistan's economic interests". — AFP/File
Finance Minister Asad Umar's letter to FATF refers to India's "clear motivation to hurt Pakistan's economic interests". — AFP/File

Finance Minister Asad Umar has written a letter to the president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) asking him to appoint any other member country besides India as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group "to ensure that [the] FATF process is fair, unbiased and objective", the Ministry of Finance said on Saturday.

According to a statement released by the ministry, the finance minister has cited "India's animosity towards Pakistan", which he said was well known, as the reason for the request. The finance minister called attention to "the recent violation of Pakistan's airspace and dropping of bombs inside Pakistani territory" which he said was "another manifestation of India's hostile attitude".

"The letter referred to Indian Finance Minister’s statement regarding efforts for global isolation of Pakistan and [the] Indian call for [the] blacklisting of Pakistan during the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) meeting on February 18, 2019, which demonstrated Indian intentions to hurt Pakistan’s economic interests," the statement said.

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In his letter to the FATF president, the finance minister sought to reason that given the "clear Indian motivation to hurt Pakistan's economic interests, Indian presence among the evaluators and as co-chair of the Joint Group would undermine the impartiality and spirit of the peer review process, which lies at the heart of FATF’s methodology and objective assessment".

"We firmly believe that India’s involvement in the ICRG process will not be fair towards Pakistan," he asserted.

The finance minister, therefore, "urged that [the] FATF appoint another country as co-chair of the Joint Group instead of India to ensure an impartial assessment of Pakistan's progress in regard to the FATF Action Plan.

"The ICRG and FATF meetings must not be allowed to be used as a platform by India to make political speeches against Pakistan. The sanctity of FATF processes require that separate assessments by individual countries for politically motivated outcomes are not allowed under the ICRG review," the finance ministry statement quotes the letter as saying.

The finance minister has assured the FATF president that "Pakistan remains firm in its commitment to work with FATF/ICRG and the Joint Group and to implement the Action Plan".

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According to the finance ministry statement, Pakistan raised its concern with the Asia-Pacific Group in June last year, over India’s negative attitude and its intentions to hurt Pakistan’s interests but no action was taken in regard to the re-composition of the Joint Group.

Similar concerns were also raised with the FATF secretariat and ICRG co-chairs on the sidelines of the FATF Plenary of February 2019, the statement added.

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