Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was a technical forum but India was politicizing it to keep the sword of grey list hanging over Pakistan.
He was holding a press conference after chairing a meeting of the district coordination committee to review different projects in the district.
FM Qureshi maintained that Pakistan fulfilled 26, out of total 27 recommendations of FATF. FATF authorities hailed Pakistan’s commitment to implement 26 recommendations, he said, adding that the country was also moving forward towards the last recommendation. FATF should have placed Pakistan on the white list as the country actively pursued the recommendations, he pointed out.
However, the foreign minister expressed wonder and posed the question of why was Pakistan kept on the grey list despite it followed 26 recommendations in letter and spirit.
Pakistan made 14 amendments in the constitution to pursue FATF’s recommendations, Qureshi added.
The foreign minister maintained that India was politicizing FATF as it wanted that sword of the grey list should be kept hanging over Pakistan.
Responding to a question, Qureshi remarked that Pakistan was put on the grey list during the tenure of PML- N.
The PTI government took many steps and implemented FATF’s recommendations on anti-money laundering and terror financing, the foreign minister stated.
To a query about the seizure of uranium from two citizens in India, he remarked if the incident happened in Pakistan, then Indian media would have highlighted it across the world.
The foreign minister however urged Pakistani media to focus on the issue and highlight it internationally.
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) June 28, 2021
To another question about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Qureshi stated that peaceful Afghanistan was in the interest of the region. US forces were withdrawing from Afghanistan and there could be fear of a civil war, he said and expressed concern, in case of civil war, Afghanistan would be a more affected country and after it, Pakistan would suffer.
Qureshi maintained that Pakistan rendered many sacrifices against terrorism and it did not want the menace of terrorism to surface again. He also observed that some elements were playing the role of “spoiler” to damage the peace process in Afghanistan.
To another question about a secret meeting of Indian FM and Taliban in Doha, he observed that the Taliban’s main leadership had denied any such meeting.
Qureshi also thanked PML-Q for extending cooperation in getting the budget passed from the Punjab assembly, adding the party would extend cooperation in the center also.
About South Punjab Secretariat, Qureshi stated that the PTI would honor its pledge of south Punjab province and ensuring equal progress in the backward region.
He informed that work on the construction of the South Punjab secretariat would commence from the first week of August.
The secretariat will be constructed on an area of 63 acres. Similarly, the residence of officers will also be constructed. About the Bahawalpur secretariat, Qureshi hinted that 30 acres had been identified for the construction of the Bahawalpur secretariat.
He remarked that the government wanted to delegate complete powers to functionaries at the south Punjab secretariat.
It was for the first time that a separate book about the annual development program had been introduced, Qureshi said, adding all the earmarked funds would be utilized locally.
The PTI government would spend Rs 189 billion for the development of the region, he added.
About CPEC and the revival of cotton in South Punjab, the foreign minister stated, the government in collaboration with China was working to revive and promote cotton in south Punjab.
Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa will visit Cotton Research Institute with MAN Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi. The government will revamp the cotton research institute to prepare new cotton varieties and hopefully, it will lead to improving cotton production in the region.