ALSO READPakistan may enter terror financing list: 10 ways its economy will bleed Hafiz Saeed declared a terrorist: China's failure behind Pakistan move? Pak lies exposed; JeM's Masood Azhar boasts about Sunjuwan attack in tapes In the wake of Jammu terror strike, MoD clears Rs 160 bn rifle procurement
Pakistan might have escaped the consequences of its support to terrorist organisations at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting on Tuesday, with the help of Russia and two other countries. Islamabad reportedly secured a last-minute reprieve from the FATF and avoided being put back on a global list of countries that finance terrorism. According to reports in the Pakistani media, FATF member states failed to reach a consensus on placing Islamabad on the global watchdog's grey list.
Pakistani daily The Express Tribune reported that while concrete details were not available, Pakistani Foreign Office sources suggested that China, Turkey, and Russia, all of them members of FATF, opposed the motion against Pakistan.
By now, there might not be any surprise over Beijing shielding Islamabad from the fall-out of its support for proscribed terrorist organisations -- China has protected Masood Azhar, the leader of Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), by preventing the Security Council from sanctioning him as an international terrorist. However, if reports of Russia's involvement are accurate, the development could raise eyebrows in New Delhi, given its close defence ties and strategic partnership with Moscow.
Described as a "long-standing and time-tested partner" by India, Russia was reportedly among the countries that were not on board with the proposal to place Pakistan back on the terror financing watchlist. With the resultant failure in arriving at a consensus, the watchdog did not table the motion, which was jointly moved by the US and the United Kingdom (UK) against Pakistan, for voting in its plenary session.
What relief did Pakistan get?
Pakistan has received a three-month-long reprieve over the motion to put the country on FATF's terrorist financing watchlist, according to agency reports.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif, currently on a visit to Russia, tweeted the details of the relief secured by Islamabad.
Our efforts paid,FATF Paris 20Feb meeting conclusion on US led motion to put Pakistan on watch list-proposing 3months pause &asking APG for another report to b considered in June الحمداللہ
-No consensus for nominating Pakistan
Grateful to friends who helped — Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) February 20, 2018
According to Asif, there was "no consensus for nominating Pakistan" at the FATF meeting. He also said that the meeting proposed a "three-month pause" and asked for the Asia Pacific Group (APG), which is part of FATF, to consider "another report in June".
FATF, which began its week-long plenary meeting on Sunday in Paris, was supposed to take a call on the proposal to put Pakistan back on the "grey list" of countries that have failed to put a stop to terror financing.
According to a Reuters report, Pakistan's de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail, had said the US and Britain had put forward the motion several weeks ago. Ismail added that they later persuaded France and Germany to co-sponsor it.
Being placed on the FATF watchlist carries no direct legal implication but brings extra scrutiny from regulators and financial institutions. That could have chilled trade and investment and increased transaction costs, according to experts.
The FATF was established in 1989 to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and checking other related threats to the international financial system.
It has developed a series of recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.