FATF could blacklist Pak due to ‘lobbying by India’: Qureshi
Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to “lobbying by India”, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a press conference in Lahore on Monday.
Qureshi said he estimated that the country could suffer $10 billion loss annually if it remains on the watchdog’s grey list.
“The Foreign Office is calculating the annual loss if Pakistan is pushed in the black-list by the FATF as India is lobbying for this,” foreign minister Qureshi told reporters at the Governor’s House in Lahore.
In June last year, the Paris-based FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing. The FATF has asked Pakistan to reassess the operation of banned terrorist outfits in the country. Ahead of the team’s visit, Pakistan wrote to FATF president Marshall Billingslea to appoint other member as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific’s Joint Group, in place of India, to ensure that the FATF review process is fair, unbiased and objective.
A group of experts from the FATF recently visited Pakistan to review whether Islamabad has made enough progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the watchdog’s grey list.
During its three-day visit to Islamabad in the last week of March, a delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the FATF, expressed serious reservations over insufficient physical actions on ground against banned groups to block flow of funds and activities.
The FATF noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment but did not demonstrate a proper understanding of the risks posed by the Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah , Falah-i-Insania , Lashkar-e-Taiba, JeM, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
To a question on the suspension of dialogue on the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India to visit his country, Qureshi said: “Pakistan went to India for a meeting on Kartarpur despite the escalation [of tensions] on borders, but India hesitated for a second meeting scheduled for April 2. I ask India to bring its apprehensions on the table for review by Pakistan but avoid cancelling meetings.”
India on Friday summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner in New Delhi and conveyed concerns over the presence of a leading Khalistani separatist in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor project. Indian officials said they will wait for a response from Pakistan on the issue.
(With agency inputs)
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