Pakistan lobbies Russia ahead of crucial meeting of FATF on terror financing
Pakistan is lobbying Russia ahead of a crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this monthUpdated: Feb 01, 2018 23:07 IST
Pakistan is lobbying Russia ahead of a crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this month that is expected to review a compliance report from Islamabad on action taken to choke funding to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawah.
India and the US are among the countries that are pushing the FATF to act against Pakistan for failing to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1267 that calls for cutting off funding to proscribed groups such as the LeT, founded by Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.
Tasnim Aslam, special secretary in Pakistan’s foreign ministry raised the issue of the FATF with Russian deputy foreign minister Oleg Syromolotov during a meeting on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Foreign Office.
“Both sides discussed issues relating to the forthcoming meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to be held in Paris on February 18-23, 2018,” the statement said.
Aslam informed about Syromolotov “measures taken by Pakistan to implement its international obligations and intentions of some FATF Member States to use the forum for their political ends” – an apparent reference to India.
It was largely due to the pressure from the FATF that Pakistan detained Saeed, who has a $10 million US bounty on his head, in January last year. However, Saeed was freed 10 months later on the orders of a panel of judges, which said the Pakistan government had furnished no evidence against the founder of the LeT.
At its plenary in Buenos Aires during November 1-3 last year, FATF asked Pakistan to submit a compliance report on action taken against the LeT and JuD before the upcoming Paris meeting.
Pakistan has stepped up efforts to improve its ties with Russia following greater convergence between the two countries on Afghanistan. Russia has also begun supplying military hardware to Pakistan, angering Moscow’s traditional ally New Delhi.
During her visit to Russia, Aslam met deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov on Wednesday and discussed Afghanistan and other bilateral and regional issues.
Both sides expressed satisfaction at the “positive trajectory of bilateral relations” and agreed to deepen cooperation in trade, energy, defence and education. Zamir Kabulov, the special representative of the Russian president on Afghanistan, also attended the meeting.
The two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the region. “They reiterated that there was no military solution to the Afghan problem and the negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process was the only viable option”, according to the statement.
Aslam spoke about measures taken by Pakistan to manage the border with Afghanistan and the need to repatriate more than three million Afghan refugees from Pakistan.