The international community has long-standing concerns over deficiencies in the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism measures by Pakistan, the US said today, amid reports that it wants to put Islamabad in an international terrorist-financing watchlist. The remarks by State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert came ahead of a crucial Financial Action Task Force(FATF) meeting to be held in Paris from February 18 to 23. The FATF is an international policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. “The international community has a longstanding concern when it comes to the Government of Pakistan about what we consider to be deficiencies in the implementation of anti-money laundering, counterterrorism and other types of issues similar to that,” Nauert told reporters at her daily news conference. Nauert was asked about Pakistan Minister of State for Finance Rana Afzal’s remarks that the US is seeking to place Islamabad on an international terrorist-financing watchlist.
Afzal had told the Senate that the move to put Pakistan on the terrorist financing watchlist is a political maneuver on the part of the US and the UK to hamper Pakistan’s economic progress. Asked about Pakistan minister’s assertion, Nauert said, “What this group FATF does is it promote better measures to crackdown on counterterrorism or to work against terrorism and also money laundering as well. Some of those deliberations, I can’t confirm what took place because those are considered to be private. Pakistan was on this list from 2012-2015.
A State Department spokesperson earlier said the February Plenary of the intergovernmental FATF “will be determining appropriate next steps” regarding Pakistan. “The FATF discussions are confidential and there will be no publicly released information until there is a FATF Plenary decision that Pakistan should be publicly identified. Confidentiality of FATF internal deliberations and documents are very important and core to the deliberative process,” the spokesperson said.