Pakistan avoids terror-finance black list

Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 28 June 2018

Pakistan avoids terror-finance black list

  • Caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar and her team presented Pakistan’s action plan during the watchdog’s plenary meeting in Paris
  • Economists say the move is bound to hit Pakistan’s economy as the listing is enough to deter foreign investment and foreign aid

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided on Thursday to keep Pakistan on its grey list after being satisfied with Islamabad’s 26-point proposed action plan to counter-terrorism financing and money laundering.

Pakistan could have found itself on the FATF’s blacklist if the global financial watchdog rejected its proposed plan.

“We were told in February that we will be placed on the grey list from June,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal said on Thursday.

“We will have to ensure the implementation of the action plan shared with the FATF while we are on the grey list.” Pakistan can be removed from the list “if adequate measures are taken,” he added.

The FATF will review Islamabad’s performance on the action plan in its next meeting in October, he said.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body that monitors its members’ progress in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.

Caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar and her team presented Pakistan’s action plan during the watchdog’s plenary meeting in Paris on Wednesday. 

Islamabad has taken enough measures since February to combat terrorism financing and money laundering, she said.

The US and its allies — including Britain, France and Germany — moved a motion against Pakistan in February seeking its placement on the grey list for not taking enough action to eliminate terrorism financing and money laundering.

That month, Pakistan was put up for monitoring under the FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group, known as the grey list. 

The Foreign Office confirmed in February after the Paris meeting that Pakistan would be officially placed on the grey list in June if it failed to take measures to curb terror financing.

Economists say the move is bound to hit Pakistan’s economy as the listing is enough to deter foreign investment and foreign aid, and will raise the cost of doing business in the country.

The international financial market runs on rumors, and Pakistan’s placement on the grey list is bound to impact the exchange rate and foreign reserves, said senior economist Dr. Athar Ahmed.

“We need to plug loopholes in our banking and financial system to satisfy the international community that Pakistan is doing enough to combat terrorism financing and money laundering,” he told Arab News.

Overseas Pakistanis send remittances of around $18 billion annually through banking channels, while some $10 billion annually are remitted through illegal channels such as Hawala and Hundi, he said.

“The money remitted by overseas Pakistanis through the illegal channels doesn’t come under the ambit of money laundering. They just do it to save banking charges and some government taxes,” he added.

“Pakistan isn’t in a position to finance terrorism. We’re a victim of terrorism, and the international community should support us instead of slapping sanctions.”

Sakib Sherani, a former economic adviser to the government, told Arab News: “Pakistan received $2 billion in foreign investment in the last 12 months. This may go down in the coming months due to its placement on the grey list.”

If Islamabad fully implements the proposed action plan, “this will help Pakistan improve its image among the international community, and be off the grey list in a year and a half,” he said.


Curtains close on Jaipur Literature Festival

Updated 28 January 2020

Curtains close on Jaipur Literature Festival

  • This year’s themes were current trends in politics, wider society, the economy, art, and literature

NEW DELHI: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) came to a close on Monday after registering a footfall of more than 400,000 visitors during the five-day event, which saw the participation of more than 500 speakers from 30 countries.

What started as a small event in the western Indian city of Jaipur in 2007 has gone on to become one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the world, so much so that the Diggi Palace, an expansive medieval structure which was used as the venue for the JLF every year, became overcrowded this year, forcing organizers to look for a new venue for 2021.

This year’s themes were current trends in politics, wider society, the economy, art, and literature.

With India witnessing continuous protests against new citizenship legislation introduced by the government, most of the political discussions revolved around the issue, with many drawing attention to the danger it posed to the constitution and the secular fabric of the country.

Changes taking place in the Arab world were also part of this year’s discourse with four Arab authors speaking at the JLF.