Pakistan to be put on global terrorist financing watch list by US

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring desk): Pakistan has been motioned to be put on global terrorist-financing watch list by the United States, with an anti-money laundering monitoring group, says a senior Pakistani official.

Pakistan has been struggling to steer clear from ending up on the list of countries reckoned non-compliant with terrorist funding regulations by FATF. Officials fear being on the list would aggrieve the country’s economy.

A meeting of Financial Action Task Force member states is schedules next week next Paris, where the motion on Pakistan could be approved by the organisation. The FATF is an intergovernmental body rooted in Paris, which sets global regulations for combating illicit finance.

The United States has been foreboding to become hard on Islamabad regarding militants. Only last month administration of President Donald Trump cut Pakistan off from an aid of about $2 billion.

Pakistan’s de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail, told Reuters the United States and Britain put forward the motion several weeks ago, and later persuaded France and Germany to co-sponsor it.

“We are now working with the US, UK, Germany and France for the nomination to be withdrawn,” Ismail said, speaking by telephone from Europe.

“We are also quite hopeful that even if the US did not withdraw the nomination that we will prevail and not be put on the watchlist.”

Pakistan had previously been on the FATF watch list from 2012 to 2015.

The FATF had previously warned Islamabad it could be put back on the watch list without further efforts to crack down on the flow of funds to militants.

Pakistani officials and Western diplomats fear that being enlisted on the FATF watch list could hamper the economy of Pakistan making it harder to attract foreign investors barring companies from business ventures in the nuclear-armed South Asian country.

“If you’re put on a terror watch-list, you’re made to go through all the (extra) scrutiny,” Pakistan’s former counter-terrorism chief, Khawaja Khalid Farooq, told Reuters. “It can hurt the economy very badly.”