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Pakistan sends top official to plead its case in FATF meet in Paris

Pakistan has sent adviser to prime minister on finance Dr Miftah Ismail to attend the Financial Action Task Force meeting at a time when the activities of Hafiz Saeed’s JuD and the FIF have created problems for the government.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2018 18:44 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Pakistan's new finance ministry chief Miftah Ismail speaks with a Reuters correspondent during an interview in Islamabad, Pakistan.(Reuters )

Facing the prospect of punitive actions, Pakistan has sent a top official to plead its case at the Financial Action Task Force meeting in Paris that will take up a US-sponsored resolution to put Islamabad on a list of countries that financially support terrorism, a media report said on Tuesday.

Pakistan has sent adviser to prime minister on finance Dr Miftah Ismail to attend the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting at a time when the activities of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) have created problems for the Pakistan government, The Express Tribune quoted finance ministry officials as saying.

The decision to send Ismail was taken abruptly, it said.

The US and the UK have moved a motion to place Pakistan on the FATF terrorist-financing watch-list. France and Germany are co-sponsoring the move, the report said.

According to the original plan, the Director General Financial Monitoring Unit, a joint secretary-level official of the Ministry of Finance and representatives from the State Bank of Pakistan and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan were to represent Pakistan at the FATF meeting.

Just a day before his departure for France for the six-day FATF meetings, Ismail had returned from a week-long visit of Europe where he had gone to “convince” the FATF member countries about the actions that Islamabad has taken to remain compliant with global anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regime, it said.

The meetings involve more than 700 delegates from the 203 jurisdictions of the FATF Global Network, as well as the UN, IMF, World Bank and other partners.

If the FATF adopts the resolution, Pakistan could once again be placed on the grey list of countries with deficient anti-money laundering regimes.

Pakistan suspects India’s hand behind the US-sponsored resolution as Ismail recently lamented that the FATA was used for political purposes, the report said.

According to the financial sector experts, any move to place Pakistan on the watch-list would enhance scrutiny level of the financial transactions that the country’s banking sector would undertake with the rest of the world.

This will increase the cost of opening letter of credits (LC) for trade purposes. The negative decision by FATF will have the force to affect the international credit ratings, which will in turn increase cost of borrowings for the government.

At present, the 11 jurisdictions are on the high risk and monitoring list of the FATF, which include North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ethiopia. Pakistan was on the FATF grey list from 2009 to 2015.

“The measure to blacklist Pakistan is part of a propaganda to economically destabilise our country,” Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday.

First Published: Feb 20, 2018 18:44 IST