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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has once again raised questions over the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s “political” role, saying that India is using the technical forum for political purposes, as the watchdog on money laundering and terror financing last week decided to continue to keep Pakistan on its grey list. In a statement, on Monday, the foreign minister also stated that the government of Pakistan refused providing air bases to the United States in the best national interest and future decisions would also be taken keeping in view the country’s own interests.

Qureshi referred to his earlier statement, in which he had questioned the FATF’s June 25 decision to continue keeping Pakistan on its grey list even after largely completing 26 of the 27 targets, saying he had presented his views with regard to the forum’s decision before the nation. The foreign minister stated that he had spoken with his counterparts from a number of countries and presented Pakistan’s position before them and also shared with them Pakistan’s concerns.

“India [is] using the FATF for political purposes. FATF is a technical forum and it should not be used for political purpose,” Qureshi asserted. He added: “If FATF’s objective is to stop money and terror financing, which is also our goal.” He said Pakistan will continue to work to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing in its own interest, adding that both Pakistan and the FATF have a shared objective in this regard.

“The action plan given to Pakistan by the FATF during last two years was very difficult to implement, but we did it. Apart from new legislation, we have amended 14 laws and taken administrative steps,” he said, adding that the government has also taken action against those on the UN Security Council’s sanctions list. He said that judiciary and the civil administration are playing their role while the Parliament has also played its active role towards the implementation of the action plan. As far as the diplomatic efforts are concerned, Qureshi said that countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Gulf countries have openly supported Pakistan’s position.

About the refusal of giving air bases to the US for ensuring its presence in the region following completion of the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that the decision was taken keeping the country’s own interest, adding that future decisions would also be taken by keeping Pakistan’s own interests.

He also referred to President Joe Biden’s statement that the US has spent one trillion dollars in Afghanistan, trained the Afghan forces and helped the Afghan government to strengthen its institutions, adding that the US public opinion is against the continuation of the US presence in Afghanistan.

“As far as the restoration of peace in Afghanistan is concerned, it has to be taken by the Afghans themselves,” he said, adding that the Afghans themselves would decide about the country’s constitution and other things related to future political set up.

He said that Pakistan being a neighbour will continue all possible contribution for establishing peace, adding that Pakistan’s policy is very clear as it wants peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as enhancing bilateral trade. “We cannot make decisions for the Afghans. Rather, we can respect their decisions,” Qureshi said, adding that the Afghan people should exert pressure on the parties to settle the difference and resume the peace process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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