- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejected the story circulating on social media as false and baseless, saying Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong fraternal ties and the two countries have always cooperated with each other on all matters of bilateral, regional and international importance
(Karachi) In an attempt to undermine Pakistan and Saudi Arabia's ties, anti-state elements circulated rumours on social media platforms on Thursday that Saudi Arabia has voted against Pakistan in the meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), creating widespread alarm among the people. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected the news terming it as baseless.
A plenary of the FATF started its three-day deliberations in Paris and will take up Pakistan’s case on the last day of the meeting tomorrow (Friday). The plenary will decide Pakistan’s fate whether to keep the country on the grey list for another extended period or to remove it. Pakistan was placed on the grey list in June 2018.
I don't know why people are trending #FATF today as the voting is scheduled for tomorrow which also means that Saudi Arabia hasn't voted against us.— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) October 22, 2020
As per details, the fake news trended on top on twitter as people questioned its authenticity. Most twitter handlers said that the news could not be true as the voting will be held on October 23 while some termed it a move to damage ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Some twitter handlers also commented on whether Saudi Arabia will take such a step and the consequences thereafter.
FO rejects false news
Responding to queries regarding role of Saudi Arabia in assessment of Pakistan’s FATF Action Plan, the Foreign Office spokesperson categorically rejected the story circulating on social media as false and baseless.
He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong fraternal ties and the two countries have always cooperated with each other on all matters of bilateral, regional and international importance.
"Pakistan greatly values its relations with the brotherly Saudi Arabia and firmly rejects such malicious propaganda," he maintained.
FATF will announce its assessment of Pakistan’s progress on the Action Plan and the future course of action after conclusion of its Plenary Meeting.
Pakistan hopeful of positive outcome
In February 2020, the FATF plenary granted Pakistan a grace period of four months to complete its 27-point action plan against money-laundering and terror financing after it noted that the country was compliant on 14 points.
Saudi Arabia is seeing its true face, which was probably hidden from the Pakistani people Pakistan will move forward even without Saudi Arabia. Pakistan's friendly countries are only China, Turkey and Malaysia who stand by Pakistan in difficult times.#FATF pic.twitter.com/FBXaoIcPrE— Awais Bhatti (@AwaisBh58357353) October 21, 2020
The authorities are hopeful of a positive outcome after the country enacted at least 15 pieces of legislation, many of them through a joint sitting of Parliament, to fulfil the requirements set by the international watchdog.
Fake news trending in Pakistan claiming Saudi Arabia voted against Pakistan at FATF. Fun fact is FATF voting is scheduled for tomorrow. It looks like some usual suspects (which include lobbies of one or two foreign countries) are once again trying to damage Saudi-Pakistan ties.— FJ (@Natsecjeff) October 22, 2020
They are confident that there are minimal chances of Islamabad being placed on the blacklist.
Government ministers condemn negative propaganda
Reacting to the fake news being circulated by Indian lobby and anti-state elements, ministers condemned the act, saying spreading misinformation wont' serve any purpose.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said, "Indian media in hyper drive with fake news on Pakistan and unfortunate that Twitter is deliberately ignoring it."
Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi said, "Indian media propaganda at its peak & sadly fueled by the PDM circus."
He added, "Both social & economic indicators of Pakistan are showing positive signs."
Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir and Minister of State for Safron & Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi stated that Indian media is deeply involved in a fake, fabricated and malicious propaganda campaign to malign state institutions of Pakistan.
He said Twitter needs to take action against Indian Social Media accounts who are involved in nefarious attacks of fake news against Pakistan.