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Pakistan slams report of FATF putting it on terror financing watchlist

Pakistan slams report of FATF putting it on terror financing watchlist

"Pakistan has serious concerns over the motion moved by USA and United Kingdom at the Financial Action Task Force to put the country on the grey list."Experts say that being placed on the FATF watch list would put Pakistan under extra scrutiny by regulators and financial institutions which could hamper trade and hurt foreign investment, that too when a general election is due in about six months".

The Pakistani government official said the South Asian nation would be officially placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) watchlist in June at its next meeting, which is why the FATF statement on Friday did not mention Pakistan.

China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - the three close allies of Pakistan - have joined hands to block a move by the Trump administration to place Islamabad on an worldwide terror-financing watch list, a U.S. media report said. During the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) session that took place a day before FATF plenary, some member countries had raised the question that there was no analysis available to judge Pakistan's action, said the officials.

An article in The Wall Street Journal said that Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia were the "friends" who had come forward and blocked the United States motion to place Pakistan on the grey-list.

Pakistani officials and Western diplomats had said being put on the FATF watchlist could deal a blow to Pakistan's economy, making it harder for foreign investors and companies to do business in the country.

Islamabad has sought to head off the move by amending its anti-terrorism laws and by taking over organizations controlled by Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistan-based Islamist whom Washington blames for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. They claim that during the meeting when the representative of Gulf Cooperation Council raised hand to speak, the USA representative rushed to the GCC seat and asked the representative not to speak, according to the officials.

The meeting concluded Friday, February 23, without any explicit measures announced against Pakistan with respect to terrorism financing. During the resolution the three countries remained silent. But he played down China's role, saying the Chinese were "helpful" to Pakistan.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that Pakistan had received a 3-month reprieve, adding that it was "grateful to friends who helped".

Pakistan has received some $33 billion in USA aid since 2001, according to Washington.

The next plenary meeting of FATF is expected to take place in June this year.

Informed sources said behind the scenes, the US worked hard to bring Saudi Arabia around, Germany worked on the GCC, while India was able to speak to Russian Federation.

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