NEW DELHI: In a major political and economic blow to Pakistan, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has added the country’s name to the grey list of terror-financing watch list effective from June.While the official statement at the end of the task force’s meeting on Friday makes no mention of Pakistan, sources say it indeed is on the grey list, which would make it harder for the country’s banks to handle international transactions and rattle foreign investors and companies. It would also make it more expensive to get and repay loans from international lenders like the IMF and the World Bank.
The decision comes days after jubilant claims by Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif that Pakistan had been given a three-month reprieve following objections from China, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council and Turkey.But China and Saudi Arabia withdrew their objections late Thursday. Weeks earlier, Islamabad had placed Hafiz Saeed and other assorted radical persons and outfits on their terrorist watch list to ease increasing US pressure to do more against terrorists.
“It’s time we stopped living in denial,” Tariq Hussain, a Lahore based journalist, told TNIE. “Apart from it being a huge international embarrassment, this will cripple us economically, and also impact the elections expected later this year. It also comes at a time when our aid from our erstwhile ally, the US, has all but dried up, and our balance of payments has increased manifold. The government now needs to get its act together because, the way things are going, we could soon be declared a terror state.”Pakistan was previously on the list for three years until 2015 by the FATF, which sets global standards for fighting illicit finance and recommends measures to stem terrorist funding.
How the US turned the screws
US piloted a resolution against Pakistan to put it in the global terror finance watch list
Pakistan jumped the gun on Feb 21, claiming it had escaped the FATF grey list; thanked China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia representing the Gulf Cooperation Council for help
The US worked on all three countries; China was the last to fall in line on Friday
Pakistan though gets three-month window as the list will be effective from June