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March 12, 2019

India lobbying to get Pakistan blacklisted by FATF: Asad

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March 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar has said that India abused the process of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for lobbying against Pakistan and it was justified and legitimate demand to remove India from the slot of co-chair of FATF’s APG review.

“The decision cannot be based on our choice but it is a justified demand for removing India from the co-chair of FATF’s Asia Pacific Group (APG) review and now FATF as an organisation will have to take decision on it,” Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar told reporters after launching of report on the observance of standards and codes (ROSC) Corporate Governance Country Assessment in 2018 prepared by the World Bank and UK-based DFID along with SECP here on Monday.

The minister said that Pakistan updated terror financial risk assessment and put proscribed outfits into the fresh list last in order to fulfill the demand of the FATF. The FATF had expressed its concern over terror financing risk assessment ranking after which Islamabad inserted proscribed outfits into high risk ranking. When asked that the FATF expressed three concerns including updating terror financing risk ranking, the minister said that the terror financing risk assessment was the major demand out of three concerns expressed by them in the last FATF plenary meeting.

The minister said that India is lobbying against Pakistan and they started receiving messages that India was asking other members to put Pakistan on the blacklist. “India had submitted its unilateral report and abused the FATF process for political purposes,” he added.

To another query, he said that APG’s mission was expected to visit Pakistan by end of the ongoing month. He said that Pakistan rightly objected over Indian’s moves for lobbying against Islamabad.

Earlier, in his address on the launch of the report, the minister said that compliance overburden should not create difficulties for the private sector. He cited examples of public sector and stated that the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules existed but there was massive corruption. There is need to revisit the PPRA rules as when they move towards multilateral procurement programme the media put headline about the blockage of World Bank’s funding pipeline. The efficient rules need to be implemented to overhaul the corporate governance, he added. He also highlighted the issue of compliance overburden for becoming stumbling blocks in the way of achieving improved governance. For services sector, there are over 40 departments on the name of regulations that are aiming at minting rent seeking and nothing else, he added.

The DFID’s head in Pakistan said on the occasion that there was much less representation of women in the board of directors of the public sector entities and cited example of one newly established public sector company in which one female was made part of the board out of total 11 members.

The World Bank’s Country Director in Pakistan Patchamuthu Illangovan (Illango) said that there was element of elitism in Pakistan, as public sector enterprises received subsidies, which were more than double the amount that the country utilised on health.

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