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Pakistan claims abatement on terror tag

Pakistan claimed it had circumvented a US bid to place it on a terror-financing watch-list although it came the beleaguered country has been granted a three month abatement to clean up its act by a Paris-based international watchdog monitoring compliance.

“Our efforts paid, FATF Paris 20 Feb meeting conclusion on US led motion to put Pakistan on watch list — No consent for nominating Pakistan,” Pakistan’s foreign minister Khwaja Asif tweeted on Tuesday evening, based on which Pakistani media reported that the US bid to put Pakistan on terror financing watch-list “falls through.”

But in the very next line, Asif revealed that the meeting was “proposing 3 months pause & asking APG for another report to be considered in June,” indicating that the abatement was temporary and subject to Islamabad fulfilling its obligation to crack down on terror financing. APG is the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which took up the matter of Pakistan’s patronage of terrorism this week.

“Grateful to friends who assisted,” Asif, who was reported to be in Moscow, added in a clear reference to China, which typically provides cover to Pakistan’s terrorism troubles and was expected to plead Islamabad be given more time.

Pakistani commentators claimed that support from the Gulf nations and Pakistan’s recent supply of troops to Saudi Arabia for its war on Yemen swung the problem in its favor.

“Good News! Apparently FATF failed to get consensus against Pakistan & matter is delayed for a while. GCC switched sides & supported Pakistan. Gen. Bajwa’s last minute “troop diplomacy” to Saudi Arabia delivered. But Indians will appear back soon!” tweeted Moeed Pirzada, a TV talking head, with the similar allusion to New Delhi’s hand in Pakistan’s reputation as a terrorism sanctuary.

However, news of the FATF abatement was received skeptically in Pakistan. “This is the normal procedure and time span given for reprieve warning. We all want Pakistan to come out of watch list nominations, but so far there’s no indication at all that the voting line up will change in 3 months. Please don’t become complacent and ignore the danger,” cautioned PPP lawmaker and former Pakistan ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman.

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