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‘Pakistan to suffer economically if placed on watchlist’

‘Pakistan to suffer economically if placed on watchlist’

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Feb 14, 2018 - 22:42

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Experts believe Pakistaninfo-icon would suffer economically if the country is placed on a watchlist of countries considered non-compliant with global anti-terror financing measures.

An exclusive Reuters report said on Tuesday the United States and its European allies have tabled a motion with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with a view to placing Pakistan on a watchlist.

Miftah Ismail, Pakistan's de facto finance minister, told the news agency that the US and UK had nominated Pakistan to be put on the watchdog’s international money-laundering and terror-financing ‘grey list’ a few weeks ago, before France and Germany joined them as co-sponsors.

The FATF maintains grey and black lists for identifying countries with weak measures to combat money laundering and terror financing.

The watchdog does not have the powers to impose sanctions on a country found not meeting the required standards. However, its listing can affect international transactions from the country concerned as those would then become subject to greater scrutiny.

"We are now working with the US, UK, Germany and France for the nomination to be withdrawn," Ismail, who is the adviser to the prime minister on finance, revenue and economic affairs, told Reuters. "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."

The motion against Pakistan could be adopted at the FATF meeting scheduled to take place in Paris from February 18 to 23.

This will increase the cost of doing international/cross-border transactions and ultimately higher cost of doing business locally. Pakistan was last placed on FATF’s grey list in February 2012 and stayed on it for three years.

A senior official of the US government told Reuters that the moving of the motion is a well-thought-out manoeuvre to urge Pakistan into taking action against all militant groups rather than just selective ones.

Political affairs expert Javed Ghafoori believed Pakistan would not relinquish support for terrorist groups until the country was economically isolated.

He said Pakistan would suffer economically if it was placed on a watchlist. “Such a decision from the international community can stop investment and withdraw earlier investments in Pakistan.”

He said if the US decision was accepted, Pakistan would face ‘harsh’ economic problems amid ongoing insecurity and political issues. The situation would force Islamabad to take decisive action against terrorism networks, he said.

Khoshal Khalik, another expert on political affairs, said if Pakistan was included in the list of states sponsoring terrorism, it would damage Pakistan’s status in global economic organizations.

Struggling with economic problems, Pakistan’s domestic woes would increase, he believed.

Kabul University teacher Taj Mohammad Akbar said Pakistan was currently facing complex economic problems and sanctions on the country would further push it into economic troubles.

“When the flow of money is monitored, foreign investors may not dare to invest in Pakistan.”

nh/ma

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