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With friends China, Malaysia, Turkey in FATF, Pakistan likely to stay in grey list

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New Delhi, Oct 13, 2019-

As the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering, meets in Paris for its crucial plenary, it will most likely vote to keep Pakistan in the grey list.

Though the Asia Pacific Group (APG) sub group has recommended that Islamabad be downgraded to the black list due to its poor compliance on measures to tackle terror funding, the FATF is most likely to keep it in the grey list.

The FATF is currently headed by China and has Malaysia, Turkey as well as Saudi Arabia are its members. China, Malaysia and Turkey are most likely to vote against a downgrade for close friend Pakistan.

“The APG has recommended that Pakistan should be downgraded from grey to black. But the APG is not empowered to downgrade, which comes from the FATF,” strategic expert and Pakistan watcher Jai Kumar Verma told.

At the FATF meeting, it will require a minimum of three votes to prevent a blacklisting. “At the FATF, if the three countries — China, Malaysia and Turkey — say that Pakistan should not be downgraded from grey to black, then it will not.

“And the three countries will vote that Pakistan should not be downgraded to black,” he added.

However, even remaining in the grey list will prove very costly for Pakistan. Its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had in April said that Pakistan will face losses worth $10 billion annually if it remains in the ‘grey list’.

“The damage will be much more if it is downgraded to the black list,” Verma added.

“Pakistan has been alleging that India is trying to get it downgraded to the black list. That is not true. Why would India do it? The APG has already said that Pakistan has not been able to fulfil the measures required to tackle money laundering and terror funding, and thus it should be downgraded,” he added.

On Pakistan’s arrest earlier this week of four Jamaat-ud-Dawah members, Verma said, “This is only an eyewash, and false gestures that Pakistan indulges in whenever required.”

“Instead of blaming India or anybody else, Pakistan should try to amend its own ways. But it is difficult for Pakistan because its army is getting so many benefits, and it has made it a policy to launch a low intensity war against India and in Afghanistan,” he said.

“The Pakistan army considers it part of its foreign policy (support to terror), and that’s why they cannot and will not stop doing this. The terror groups are part of its low intensity war against India, and the Pakistan army has strategic depth in Afghanistan.

“Secondly Pakistan’s help is also sought for the peace negotiations in Afghanistan, and that is also one reason why they are continuing with the assistance to the Afghan terror groups,” said Verma.

According to the expert, the army in Pakistan has “created an impression that very soon Kashmir, a Muslim-populated area, will join the country”. And by backing some Sikh separatists, it has also created an impression “that soon there will be a Khalistan, an independent entity, and that will be the revenge of Pakistan for its dissection and the creation of Bangladesh”.

To get itself out of the grey list, Pakistan will need a minimum of 11 members, “which it cannot muster,” he added.  (Agency)

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