Pakistan on Saturday said it had written to the president of the Financial Action Task Force, asking him to replace India with any other country as the co-chair of a sub-group, Dawn reported. The sub-group, the Asia-Pacific Joint Group, is reviewing Pakistan’s progress on its action against terrorism.
Finance Minister Asad Umar cited “India’s animosity towards Pakistan” and the “recent violation of Pakistan’s airspace and dropping of bombs” as reasons for its request, which it said would ensure fairness.
Umar was referring to the Indian Air Force’s cross-border strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. The air strikes were conducted in retaliation to the Pulwama suicide bombing on February 14, in which 40 security personnel were killed.
The Financial Action Task Force is an intergovernmental body that sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally. Pakistan was put on the “grey list” in February 2018 and was given a 27-point action plan that it had to implement to be taken off the list.
Umar said India should not be allowed to use the watchdog’s platform to make political speeches against Pakistan. “Given clear Indian motivation to hurt Pakistan’s economic interests, Indian presence among the evaluators and as co-chair of the Joint Group would undermine the impartiality and spirit of the peer review process, which lies at the heart of FATF’s methodology and objective assessment,” Umar wrote.
He told The Express Tribune that Islamabad will lobby with friendly nations to support its demand for India’s removal from its position in the joint group.
Pakistan said it remains committed towards implementing the organisation’s action plan. Islamabad also told the body that it had expressed its concerns about India’s “intention to hurt Pakistani interests” in June 2018.
In February, the Financial Action Task Force had said Pakistan has made “limited progress” in curbing financing of terrorism and has failed to show a proper understanding of risks posed by such groups.
Meanwhile, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said New Delhi remains firm in its stand to lobby for support from the international community to force Pakistan to show proof of its actions against terror groups on its territory, PTI reported.