Us Wants Pakistan On Global Terror-financing Watchlist World News

US wants Pakistan on global terror-financing watchlist

The US has put forward a motion to place Pakistan on a global terroristfinancing watchlist with an anti-money laundering monitoring group, according to a senior Pakistani official.

Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avert being added to a list of countries deemed noncompliant with terrorist financing regulations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a measure officials fear could hurt its economy. The US has been threatening to get tough with Islamabad over its alleged ties with Islamist militants, and last month President Trump’s administration suspended aid worth about $2 billion.

Islamabad, which denies assisting militants in Afghanistan and India, has reacted angrily to US threats of further punitive measures. A meeting of FATF member states is due to take place next week in Paris, where the organisation could adopt the motion on Pakistan.

Pakistan’s de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail, said the US and Britain put forward the motion several weeks ago, and later persuaded France and Germany to cosponsor it. “We are now working with the US, UK, Germany and France for the nomination to be withdrawn,” Ismail said. “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.”

Pakistani officials and Western diplomats say being put on the FATF watchlist could deal a blow to Pakistan’s economy as it would make it harder for foreign investors and companies to do business in the nuclear-armed South Asian nation. “If you’re put on a terror watchlist, you’re made to go through all the (extra) scrutiny,” Pakistan’s former counterterrorism chief, Khawaja Khalid Farooq, told Reuters. “It can hurt the economy very badly.” Officials also fear it would be harder and more expensive for Pakistan to borrow money from the international debt markets if it was put on the FATF monitoring list. Pakistan raised $2.5 billion at lower-than-expected rates in December.

Ismail said the FATF motion focused on Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistan-based Islamist who India accuses of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. That suggested the United States had put forward the motion at India’s behest, he said.

“The US has consistently expressed our longstanding concern about ongoing deficiencies in Pakistan’s implementation of its anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance regime,” said a spokesperson from the US Embassy in Islamabad.

The United States was “absolutely not” acting on behalf of India in pressing Pakistan on the issue, the spokesperson said.

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