US Move To Put Pakistan On Terror Financing Watch List Delayed

US Move To Put Pakistan On Terror Financing Watch List Delayed

"Our efforts paid, FATF Paris 20 Feb meeting conclusion on USA led motion to put Pakistan on watch list - No consensus for nominating Pakistan", Pakistan's foreign minister Khwaja Asif tweeted on Tuesday evening, based on which Pakistani media reported that the U.S. bid to put Pakistan on terror financing watch-list "falls through".

Hectic diplomatic maneuvering in Europe and the Middle East has saved Pakistan from being put on a terrorism financing watch list by a global money-laundering watchdog, officials in Islamabad said on Wednesday.

The list is maintained for identifying countries, which are failed to take appropriated steps to curb money-laundering and terror financing.

The announcement came from Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif in a midnight tweet thanking "friends" who helped Pakistan avoid a major worldwide embarrassment.

Asif said "our efforts paid [off]" and that the convening states agreed to "proposing 3months pause &asking APG [Asia Pacific Group] for another report to be considered in June".

"Grateful to friends who helped", he added.

According to sources, the motion was postponed after China, Turkey, and Russian Federation, all of whom are part of global watchdog, opposed it.

It is believed that Pakistan's recent move to ban Jamaat-ud-Dawa and related charities run by Hafiz Saeed played a crucial role in helping Islamabad's case.

Last Friday, President Mamnoon Hussain approved an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, tightening a noose around terrorist individuals and organisations listed by the United Nations Security Council.

The global community continues to have concerns about deficiencies in Pakistan's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing system even though Islamabad has begun taking steps to address the flaws, said the State Department official without elaborating. Not only the cost of doing business would have increased, but the foreign investment could have dried up as well, worsening the country's macroeconomic position which is already under pressure due to a widening trade deficit and falling foreign exchange reserves. The negative decision by FATF will have the force to affect the global credit ratings, which will in turn increase cost of borrowings for the government.

On Saturday, Pakistan tried a new gambit to escape the terror financing tag, pleading with the U.S. that putting it on the Fatf grey list would humiliate it in the eyes of the hardliners who have argued that there is no percentage in toeing the USA line.

"The measure to blacklist Pakistan is part of a propaganda to economically destabilise our country", Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday. "We may consider lifting the suspension when we see decisive and sustained actions to address our concerns, including targeting all terrorist groups operating within its territory, without distinction, " US Under Secretary of State John Sullivan told a Senate hearing recently, adding, "we have shared with Pakistan our South Asia strategy in detail and have made our expectations clear".

She elaborated that the U.S. had been concerned about Pakistan's actions for a long time.