Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif (pictured above) on Tuesday said a global watchdog had given the country a three-month reprieve over a United States-led motion to put Islamabad on a terrorist financing watchlist.
The member states of the Financial Action Task Force have been meeting this week in Paris to decide on the US motion, backed by Britain, France and Germany. The Financial Action Task Force is an intergovernmental body that sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally. The United States had proposed to place Pakistan on the “grey list” of countries that are not doing enough to comply with terrorist-funding regulations.
Asif tweeted that their efforts had paid off during the meeting held on Tuesday. “No consensus for nominating Pakistan,” the minister said. He further said the Asia Pacific Group, which is part of FATF, was asked to consider another report in June. “Grateful to friends who helped,” he added.
However, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the global watchdog has yet to announce its decision on the motion and denied having confirmation that the decision was made early. “The final decision on that was due later this week, so I don’t want to get ahead of what that final decision would be,” Nauert said. “We are anticipating that the final decision would be made on Thursday of this week.”
Without naming Jamaat-ud-Dawaa chief Hafiz Saeed, Nauert criticised Islamabad for letting him out of house arrest. “I think we have been very clear with Pakistan with our concerns about terror financing,” Nauert said. “How many times have we talked about the person who Pakistan let out of house arrest, who was responsible for the Mumbai attacks back in 2008 that killed so many people, including Americans too.”
Earlier in January, Pakistan had submitted a report detailing the progress it had made in curbing terrorist financing. However, Washington submitted its motion even before Pakistan’s report could be discussed at the meeting in Paris, Reuters reported.
In July 2017, the US had blocked $350 million (Rs 2,23,433 lakh) in aid to Pakistan for not taking enough action against the Haqqani network. In August 2017, US President Donald Trump had criticised Pakistan for providing shelter to terrorists.
On January 1, Trump had claimed that Pakistan had given his country nothing but “lies and deceit” in return for $33 billion (Rs 2.10 lakh crore) in aid over the past 15 years.
Earlier in February, Pakistan had promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 and enabling authorities to freeze the assets of 27 such outfits, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan had already banned these organisations and individuals involved in them from collecting donations in the country.