ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday expressed the hope that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global illicit financing watchdog, would delist Pakistan from its grey list at its next plenary meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to take place virtually from Feb 22 to 25.
Briefing the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, the foreign minister said he was optimistic that no politically motivated decision would be taken by the FATF.
The meeting was chaired by Chairman of Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s ‘grey list’ for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since 2018.
In its last meeting held in October last year, the watchdog had decided to retain Pakistan on the list of ‘jurisdiction under enhanced monitoring’ till the review in February 2021 when the status of its compliance with recommendations would be assessed again.
Pakistan has so far fully complied with 21 of the 27 actions recommended by FATF. It was, however, deemed to have crucially fallen short on action against the organisations linked to the terror groups listed by the UN Security Council; and prosecution and conviction of banned individuals. Similarly, it was said to have done little to tackle terror financing through narcotics and smuggling of precious stones.
Mr Qureshi said he expected a positive decision would be made in Pakistan’s case as “substantial progress” had been made on the remaining six items.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Pakistan would host the next meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) later this year.
He said Pakistan would keep the focus of the meeting on the situation in India-occupied Kashmir. The government, he said, would ensure that human rights and the issue of Kashmiri political prisoners remained at the forefront.
Pakistan had after the annexation of occupied Kashmir in Aug 2019 tried to convene a special meeting of the OIC CFM, but could not get the support of Arab countries, which hold a virtual veto on the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries.
OIC foreign ministers had at their last meeting held in Niamey (Niger) in November 2020 reiterated their support for the Kashmir cause.
“We reiterate the OIC’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute for a peaceful settlement in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions,” the foreign ministers said in the Niamey Declaration.
Mr Qureshi also briefed the committee on the progress on CPEC. He said CPEC was now in the second phase in which relocation of Chinese industry, job creation and the activation of two new Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on agriculture and international cooperation, respectively, will be a force-multiplier for the project.
The foreign minister later presented the dossier on “Indian state sponsorship of terrorism and destabilisation in Pakistan” to Senator Mushahid Sayed.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2021