US May Help Remove Pakistan’s Name From FATF Grey List
Pakistan officials have specifically asked the US administration to extend diplomatic support to Pakistan’s efforts to get its name removed from the Grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after officials of members countries of FATF have generally appreciated visible progress made by Pakistani state machinery in meeting the requirements of international financial watchdog with regards to money laundering.
Pakistan officials formally requested the US administration for extending the diplomatic support to Pakistan on this count during the four days visit of US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells to Islamabad last week.
This request to US officials coincided with the efforts of Pakistani government to convince the FATF joint group and its regional affiliate Asia Pacific Group of visible progress made by Pakistan’s state machinery on all the points raised by the group with regards to the money laundering. Pakistani delegation briefed the group about progress made by Pakistan in this regards in Beijing. The group is expected to finalize its report by February 1st “for circulation to all 39 members who will be attending the crucial FATF Plenary and Joint Working Group meetings in Paris on Feb 16-21. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had already raised the issues with US officials during his visit to Washington early this month.
Pakistani foreign ministry officials have presented a report on institutional performance, legislation, risk assessment and inter-agency coordination with the US State Department officials in their interaction with them.
The same report was presented to the Asia Pacific Group officials in Beijing by Pakistani Finance Ministry officials early this month. A senior official of the government said that this detailed report would be presented to the officials of the 39 countries, which are members of FATF before their meeting in Paris by the end of next month.
Though the support of each and every 39 members countries of FATF would be valuable in getting removed the name of Pakistan from the Grey List, Pakistani officials are attaching great value to lobbying the big powers like China and United States in their efforts.
The past two months have seen softening of Washington’s attitude towards Pakistan as Pakistani government and military moved decisively to compel Taliban to bring down violence inside Afghanistan in anticipation of final peace deal between US officials and Afghan Taliban.
It is pertinent to mention here US official, Alice Wells’ visit to Islamabad was in connection with the expected peace deal with Afghan Taliban, which has been made possible because of full fledged efforts of Pakistani government to move towards a deal with Afghan government and US administration.
It was in this atmosphere that Pakistani officials made the formal request to the US Administration for getting its name removed from the grey list. A senior US official of Trump administration is expected to pay a visit to Islamabad to acknowledge the contribution made by Pakistan in making the peace deal a possibility.
On the other hand the Chinese officials in talks with Pakistan have already appreciated the efforts and progress made by Pakistan state machinery in meeting the requirements of FATF countries.
A senior government official said that United Kingdom and France have also appreciated Pakistani efforts in this regards. However, Pakistan is expected to work hard to convince the members countries of the visible progress by Pakistani state machinery on all the points raised by FATF.
Umer Farooq is an Islamabad-based freelance journalist. He writes on security, foreign policy and domestic political issues.