Published Date: Mar 6, 2018
Pakistan’s placement on FATF grey watch list will not hurt economy, Experts
Islamabad (Monday, March 05, 2018): Placing Pakistan on grey watch list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will not hurt economy as there would be no legal hitch in accessing foreign funding, including potential future borrowings from donor agencies, say experts while speaking at a special seminar on "Financial Action Task Force (FATF): Way Forward for Pakistan" organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
Some other speakers say though there would be no huge set back to Pakistan’s economy, still Pakistan needs to take it seriously in terms of reviewing its position. FATF is a mutually cooperative forum of 34-member countries which facilitate the countries to curb terror financing and money laundering. The forum has developed around 40 standards cum recommendations, which every country adopt voluntarily and not coercively.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Syed Shiblee Faraz said the immediate response by incumbent government lacks maturity on FATF’s likely decision to put Pakistan on grey list of terror financing and we must review our performance. “We must learn and must admit our weaknesses," he said, adding that Pakistan should take this more seriously and should evolve mechanism to fulfill international obligations, as difficult time is ahead.
Former Finance Secretary, Dr. Waqar Masood said this move by the United States with the help of Germany and UK was unprecedented and it seems an Indian inspired initiative, which was visible in the Indian media where a frantic picture was painted of doom and gloom about Pakistan. "Since 2015, Pakistan has banned almost 8000 individuals and 58 outfits and put them on fourth Schedule, which shows Pakistan’s efforts to curb terrorism and money laundering," he said, adding that efforts to isolate Pakistan was foiled, as EU had also cleared Pakistan for GSP-Plus status in its biennial assessment. The GSP-Plus renewal speaks volume about how the European Community as a whole views Pakistan, he added.
Dr. Abid Qayuim Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI opined that Pakistan’s likely inclusion in the list raised alarms within and outside the country, as this time FATF just acted on the United States’ proposal with the backing of some other countries. "We should take it as a challenge as well as an opportunity to take reform measures to curb illicit activities, such as terror financing and money laundering, if any," he said.
Haroon Sharif Regional Advisor for South Asia World Bank earlier said that FATF does not black list the non-compliant countries to borrow from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and hence, implications of Pakistan’s name on FATF grey watch list would not impact the country’s economy. Pakistan, unfortunately, does not have big Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which may have a threat of being extracted. "Pakistan doesn’t have any expert’s representation at FATF platform, and there was not a single contribution from Pakistan to this forum," Haroon added. He said we need to develop our capacities and to have the professionals who can deal with this issue in terms of countering misperceptions at international forums. Pakistan should enhance its engagement and strengthen its ties with its international partners and sell its narrative effectively, he added.