Wednesday September 22, 2021

PTI's Faisal Javed says Opposition using FATF bill as bargaining chip to 'seek NRO'

FM Qureshi says Opposition parties 'want freedom to engage in corruption and money-laundering'
Web Desk
July 29, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says the laws "have to be fixed and passed within a limited time and sent to the Asia/Pacific Group". Combination Photo/ and Radio Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Opposition is only using a legislation pertaining to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as a bargaining chip to seek the NRO, PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan said Wednesday.

"There's a deadline to legislate the FATF laws but the Opposition has demanded NRO in return," Javed wrote on Twitter. "This is the same NRO that Prime Minister Imran Khan talks about and yet they ask which NRO?

"The Opposition's proposed amendments to the NAB laws are like jails for the common person and freedom for them," the PTI senator stressed, referring to the draft legislation on Pakistan's anti-graft watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The Opposition "want[s] freedom to engage in corruption and money-laundering", he added.

India wants Pakistan to be added to 'black list'

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, alongside Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Affairs Shahzad Akbar and Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, addressed a press conference here in the federal capital

"Important bills were introduced and passed in the Parliament today," Qureshi said, adding that they were crucial because they form the basis on whether Pakistan would be removed from the grey list and put into the white one.

"India wants Pakistan to be moved from the grey list to the black list," he added, warning that if the country was blacklisted, the economic situation was likely to deteriorate.

"These laws have to be fixed and passed within a limited time and sent to the Asia/Pacific Group [on Money Laundering (APG)]," the foreign minister said, referring to the Sydney based, FATF-style inter-governmental body.

Qureshi explained that a report on these bills will be prepared in Pakistan in October 2020.

'Performed a melody'

When the Opposition parties were asked to join negotiations on these laws, they agreed, saying they would talk about the FATF legislation only when there were amendments in the NAB's rules, or the NAB Ordinance 1999.

"We acted on the demands of the Opposition [who] had remained in the government for 10 years," he noted. "If they were unable to legislate in 10 years, how can we do the same in 10 hours?"

The FM added that he was not painting any pictures but that it was the Opposition parties that were portraying it as something else.

"Khawaja sahab said I recited a qawwali; I did not recite any qawwali, I sang a pakka raag [melody]," he added. "I performed a melody that [Prime Minister] Imran Khan has been campaigning for since the past 22 years!"

Noting that Pakistan's independent institutions would definitely crack down on corrupt elements, he warned against blackmailing using national interests. "This government will be not blackmailed," he stressed further.

To PTI and beyond

"Don't try to make deals; we are already ready to discuss the NAB," Qureshi underscored, adding that issues in politics did not just end but could turn into a deadlock.

"Khawaja sahab claimed that Shah Mehmood came to us in 2013 but your chief had extended an invitation to me to join the PML-N. I have a longstanding relationship with your leader.

"The PML-N had offered me the ministry of foreign affairs but I did not accept it. I joined the PTI.

"We will not compromise on our basic issues but our doors are open to reasonable ones," Qureshi said.