ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has welcomed what he has described as the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) unanimous acknowledgment of Pakistan’s act of fulfilling requirements of two action plans.
“I welcome FATF’s unanimous acknowledgment of completion by Pakistan of its 2018 and 2021 action plans. I would like to commend the hard work and dedicated efforts of Pakistan’s FATF team that led to the successful completion of all technical requirements of both the FATF action plans. This was the result of concerted national efforts and complete harmony of interests by all stakeholders,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
The announcement by the FATF plenary about granting an on-site visit to Pakistan is a welcome development, he said, adding that the decision reflects the remarkable progress made by Pakistan in enhancing the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime.
The government of Pakistan is committed to continuing on this positive trajectory of reforming the financial sector as part of its larger strategic objective of strengthening Pakistan’s economy, the foreign minister said.
“I am certain that this good news from FATF will restore confidence in Pakistan’s economy and act as a catalyst for sustained growth and development. Let me reiterate the Government of Pakistan’s high-level commitment to continue aligning our AML/CFT regime with global standards. We look forward to the on-site visit and a successful and early culmination of the process leading to Pakistan’s exit from the grey list,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Sunday joined the international community in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.
According to the Foreign Office, this signifies “our common resolve to end all forms of violence, exploitation and human rights violations in the conflict zones. On this day, we reaffirm our commitment to the universality of all human rights and their equal application in conflict areas and occupied territories”.
The FO statement said: “On this day, we must not forget the brave people of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), who have been facing gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Indian occupation forces with full impunity. Rape is employed as a tool of suppression and as a means of collective punishment in IIOJK. The women, girls and children of IIOJK have witnessed the most egregious forms of sexual violence of recent times.
“The horrendous mass rape of Kashmiri women in Kunan Poshpura villages of IIOJK on 23 February 1991 continues to haunt the victims who still await justice. The Indian state machinery has perpetrated sexual violence with full impunity to silence, subjugate and stifle the people of IIOJK and stop them from demanding their legitimate right to self-determination, pledged in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. However, the resilient Kashmiris remain undeterred in their just cause.”
The FO said that since August 5, 2019 sexual violence against all genders, including children, has drastically increased in IIOJK. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its two Kashmir reports, the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders (SPMHs) in their joint communications, and the international civil society and media in their publications have expressed serious concerns over widespread sexual violence being committed by the Indian occupation forces with full impunity in IIOJK and have inter alia demanded investigations by a UN Commission of Inquiry.
“Unfortunately, all these international calls for prosecution of perpetrators have been blatantly rejected by India. There remains a pervasive culture of impunity through connivance between the Indian state machinery, judiciary and the media,” the statement said.
It added that the international community must take cognisance of the sexual crimes committed against the people of IIOJK and hold the perpetrators of these condemnable acts accountable through various mechanisms including sanctions against the offenders.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022