This content was published on February 26, 2018
By Drazen Jorgic
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s de facto finance minister, Miftah Ismail, has brushed off concerns that economic growth will suffer because of the country’s re-inclusion on a terrorist financing watch list, and lashed out against the United States for seeking to “embarrass” his nation.
Washington last week persuaded member states of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan back on the “grey list” of nations with inadequate terrorist financing or money laundering controls. Pakistan was on the list for three years, until 2015.
The diplomatic setback has sparked anger in Islamabad against United States, which championed the motion against Pakistan at the FATF meeting in Paris. It represented another blow to the worsening relationship between the uneasy allies, who have long differed on how to combat Islamist militants waging war in Afghanistan.
It has also heightened concerns that Pakistan is becoming internationally isolated, and that its economy could suffer if global banking intuitions cut links with the nuclear-armed nation, or otherwise increase the cost of doing business with Pakistan.
Ismail, officially the adviser on finance, revenue and economic affairs to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, led Pakistan’s negotiations in Paris. He told Reuters that Washington did not seem genuinely eager to see Pakistan boost its terrorist financing regulations and was instead bent on humiliating the country.
“If the Americans were interested in working with us and improving our CTF (counter-terrorist financing) regulations, they would have taken the offer I was making them,” Ismail said. “But their idea was just to embarrass Pakistan.”
Diplomatic and Pakistani government sources say Pakistan fended off a U.S.-led motion on Tuesday as Turkey, China and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) countries objected to it. But in a break from tradition, the motion was brought up again on Thursday and passed as the GCC and China dropped their objections.