By Our Staff Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has managed to garner much-needed support from three member states of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to avoid being placed on its blacklist, but black clouds are still hanging over it.
Islamabad has been on the global money laundering watchdog s radar since June 2018, when it was placed on a gray list for terrorist financing and money laundering risks after an assessment of the country s financial system and security mechanism.
Turkey was the only country that had opposed the move backed by the US, the UK, and Pakistan s arch-rival India. However, Islamabad s longtime ally, Beijing abstained. Moving one step further, New Delhi — co-chair of the joint group of FATF and Asia Pacific Group — wants Islamabad to be placed on the Paris-based watchdog s blacklist of the countries, which fail to meet international standards in combating financial crimes. However, an aggressive diplomatic push from Islamabad has frustrated the looming threat with the support of Turkey, China, and Malaysia.
According to the 36-nation FATF charter, the support of at least three member states is essential to avoid the blacklisting.
Confirming the development that took place at the five-day meeting of the watchdog’s Plenary and Working Group meeting in Orlando, Florida last week, an official at Pakistan s foreign ministry admitted that “the danger is still not over”. The group will formally announce the decision of not blacklisting Islamabad in its Plenary scheduled in Paris on Oct. 13-18.
“This is certainly a positive development that there is no imminent threat of blacklisting [by the FATF] due to crucial support from Turkey, China and Malaysia”, the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to make a public statement due to the sensitivity of the matter. But, he added, Pakistan had to meet the FATF deadline — January 2019 — to complete its action plan aimed at fully blocking the money laundering and other financial loopholes.
PEW flays politicians
The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday condemned corrupt politicians for leveling baseless allegations over the government and NAB. NAB has arrested those politicians who have amassed billions and their corruption is visible to everyone, it said. Political parties that have never shun their difference for the sake of country have now joined hands to protect their ill-gotten billions which have exposed them in the eyes of masses, said Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd), Chairman PEW.
He said that the govt should increase powers and budget of NAB so that corruption can be contained as progress against the corrupt is still frustratingly slow. Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan said that crooked politicians have increased the influence of money in politics which has shaken the foundati. He noted that anti-corruption laws are very weak which have failed to deter the dishonest therefore Islamic punishments should be introduced or Chinese anti-corruption model should be adopted where conviction rate stands at 99 percent.
Pakistan should have intolerable punishments while an emergency should be imposed against corruption to ensure national development.
The impact of corruption on macroeconomic and microeconomic indicators are not acceptable as it affects everything including lives of people GDP growth, investments, employment, tax revenues and foreign investments.
Eradicating corruption in the public procurements alone can help the government overcome the budget deficit otherwise, all efforts to turnaround economy will remain counterproductive, he warned. = DNA