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MULTAN: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was a technical forum but India was politicizing it to keep sword of grey list hanging over Pakistan. He was holding a press conference after chairing meeting of district coordination committee to review different projects in the district.

FM Qureshi maintained that Pakistan fulfilled 26, out of total 27 recommendations of FATF. FATF authorities hailed Pakistan's commitment to implement 26 recommendations, he said, adding that the country was also moving forward towards the last recommendation. FATF should have placed Pakistan on white list as the country actively pursued the recommendations, he pointed out.

However, the foreign minister expressed wonder and posed question why was Pakistan kept on grey list despite it followed 26 recommendations in letter and spirit. Pakistan made 14 amendments in the constitution to pursue FATF's recommendations, Qureshi added.

The foreign minister maintained that India was politicizing FATF as it wanted that sword of grey list should be kept hanging over Pakistan.

Responding to a question, Qureshi remarked that Pakistan was put on grey list during tenure of PML- N.

The PTI government took many steps and implemented FATF's recommendations on anti-money laundering and terror financing, the foreign minister stated.

To a query about seizure of uranium from two citizens in India, he remarked if the incident happened in Pakistan, then Indian media would have highlighted it across the world.

The foreign minister however urged Pakistani media to focus on the issue and highlight it internationally.

To another question about withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Qureshi stated that peaceful Afghanistan was in interest of the region. US force were withdrawing from Afghanistan and there could be fear of a civil war, he said and expressed concern, in case of civil war, Afghanistan would be more affected country and after it, Pakistan would suffer. Qureshi maintained that Pakistan rendered many sacrifices against terrorism and it did not want the menace of terrorism surface again. He also observed that some elements were playing role of "spoiler" to damage peace process in Afghanistan.

To another question about secret meeting of Indian FM and Taliban in Doha, he observed that Taliban's main leadership had denied of any such meeting.

Qureshi also thanked PML-Q for extending cooperation in getting budget passed from Punjab assembly, adding the party would extend cooperation in the center also.

About South Punjab Secretariat, Qureshi stated that the PTI would honour its pledge of south Punjab province and ensuring equal progress in the backward region. He informed that work on construction of south Punjab secretariat would commence from first week of August.

The secretariat will be constructed at an area of 63 acres. Similarly, the residence of officers will also be constructed. About Bahawalpur secretariat, Qureshi hinted that 30 acres had been identified for construction of Bahawalpur secretariat.

He remarked that the government wanted to delegate complete powers to functionaries at south Punjab secretariat.

It was for the first time that a separate book about annual development program had been introduced, Qureshi said, adding all the earmarked funds would be utilized locally. The PTI government would spend Rs 189 billion for development of the region, he added,

About CPEC and revival of cotton in South Punjab, the foreign minister stated, the government in collaboration with China was working to revive and promote cotton in south Punjab. Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa will visit Cotton Research Institute with MAN Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi. The government will revamp cotton research institute to prepare new cotton varieties and hopefully it will lead to improve cotton production in the region.


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