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National Security Committee meeting: FATF challenge ahead?

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The National Security Committee met with the caretaker prime minister, retired Justice Nasirul Mulk, on June 8, 2018, to discuss the overall security situation in the country. The focus was, however, on the upcoming meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris and the measures, both administrative and legal, taken so far by the country to meet FATF requirements, a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The 25th meeting of the National Security Committee was attended by the members of the newly-appointed interim cabinet, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and other civil and military officials. The caretaker PM headed the meeting.

The challenge for Pakistan’s foreign office at the moment is that if the country’s name is placed in the grey-list it will have two implications.

“The committee directed that the progress is shared with the FATF Secretariat in the upcoming meeting,” the press release said, adding that it reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to work with FATF and other international organizations “in achieving common goals and shared objectives”.

Pakistan under the watch-list of FATF:

Initially, Pakistan managed to remain out of the list of terror-financing economies. Because China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey supported Pakistan and opposed the bill that aimed to put Pakistan in the grey-list.

Read more: Government deliberately ignored the brewing FATF Imbroglio?

The United States of America, however, pressed on its anti-Pakistan agenda and managed to get an (unprecedented) re-vote on the bill by lobbying countries against Pakistan.

According to media reports, on the second vote China and Saudi Arabia decided to remain silent. Turkey, a Muslim country, however, did stand by Pakistan’s side and opposed the bill again. Saudi backed out first followed by Beijing.

Turkey’s support, however, didn’t prove enough for Pakistan. FATF announced that Pakistan has been placed on the watch-list of FATF that watches the countries that lack proper efforts to track terrorist financing. Pakistan will be included in the grey-list in June 2018.

The then- Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal thanked Turkey and wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, Turkey for standing with Pakistan against all odds and proving that we are one. We are proud to have a brother like you.”

The focus was, however, on the upcoming meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris and the measures, both administrative and legal, taken so far by the country to meet FATF requirements, a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

 Challenge for Pakistan?

The FATF is a global task force which was formed in 1989 by different countries to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other illegal activities related to the international financial system.

Pakistan has been a part of the grey-list from 2012 to 2015. But later on, Pakistan did manage to get out of the list. The challenge for Pakistan’s foreign office at the moment is that if the country’s name is placed in the grey-list it will have two implications. Firstly, it will damage the repute of Pakistan in the eyes of the international community by creating a perception that Pakistan is not doing enough to combat terrorism.

Read more: The real reasons why Pakistan was put on the FATF ‘grey…

Secondly, it will also convey an impression that “the country’s financial system is weak and effective measures aren’t being taken to halt money laundering or financing groups that have been banned for indulging in terrorist activities”.

Now it is up to the diplomatic community and foreign office of Pakistan that how do they deal with the challenge being posed to Pakistan because of not following the USA’s policy of doing more.


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