NEW DELHI :
In what could come as a major blow to India’s diplomatic efforts, Pakistan, which complied with only one recommendation from a list of 40 set by the Paris-based anti-terrorism financing watchdog -- Financial Action Task Force – has successfully defended its compliance, Pakistani daily The News International reported said Thursday.
In October, the FATF had given Islamabad time till February 2020 to comply with its other recommendations. Pakistan has been defending its compliance at an FATF meeting in Beijing through this week.
If confirmed, it will bring to naught India’s efforts to ensure penalties on Pakistan for its support and financing to militant groups fuelling terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India.
The meeting in Beijing expressed satisfaction over Pakistan’s compliance, which may put the country in safe “white" list from “gray" list, the news report added. The Pakistani delegation headed by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and has been in the Beijing for the past many days lobbying with members of the 39-member group.
“Now Pakistan requires mustering up diplomatic support for its efforts to come out from grey list and land into the white as Islamabad needs 12 votes out of total 39 in the plenary meeting of the FATF scheduled to be held in Paris on 16 February,2020," the news report said.
Reportedly, India was the lone voice which had questioned Pakistan’s compliance record, with the US, EU and others abstaining from supporting India.
“The Pakistani team will remain on standby to further defend its report if required to do so today (Thursday). If the joint group of FATF demanded any further documents or annexure at any point, the Pakistani side would be ready with a reply," The News International quoted unnamed Pakistani source as saying.
To avoid the black list, Pakistan requires the support of three countries. It needs 12 votes of a total of 39 for coming out of grey and landing into the white list, the report said. “There is a possibility of the third scenario that Pakistan might continue into the grey list for another 3 to 6 month period. After getting the support of the US, now the chances have emerged that Pakistan might be excluded from the grey list and placed into the safest white list," it added.
In the days leading up to the Beijing meet, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and discussed the matter. US President Donald Trump also met Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum that seemed to go off cordially, the reports added.
Since assuming office in January 2017, Trump has berated Pakistan for its support to terrorists on many occasions. On 1 January 2018, Trump tweeted “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"
But none of that was in evidence when he met Khan in Davos.
US changes its position as it required Pakistan’s intervention to keep the peace process in Afghanistan moving, say analysts. The Taliban and the US have started a new round of talks that will allow Washington an exit from its longest running war that started in 2001. Pakistan is seen as wielding influence over the Taliban which is seen as valuable to the US.