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August 28, 2020

Opposition to be responsible if FATF blacklists Pakistan: PM

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August 28, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday warned that the opposition will be responsible if the country is placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)'s blacklist and the economy collapses.

“The economic destruction will be exactly as India wants,” the premier said in an interview with a private news channel. “India wants to put us in the FATF blacklist and defeating the legislation on it would be, in fact, supporting their cause,” he said, adding that the opposition has a “one-point agenda” which is “entirely against the national interest”.

He added: “We are going to convene a joint session of Parliament next week, and if the opposition once again joins hands to save the corrupt within their ranks, it will be overt enmity with the country.”

The prime minister warned that the consequences of the blacklisting could be “horrific” and result in economic conditions akin to those in Iran. He said the move would end dealing with international financial institutions and banks, which would devalue the currency, result in price hike of commodities and utilities.

He added that the opposition was “blackmailing” the government over the FATF issue, but categorically stated that he would not give any concessions to the “corrupt” in the form of an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance). “No matter what the opposition does, under no circumstances will I ever give them an NRO,” he said.

The premier said granting an NRO-like amnesty to the opposition would be tantamount to compromising PTI’s manifesto, Radio Pakistan reported. The prime minister said his government inherited a situation where Pakistan was put in the FATF’s “grey” list during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Regarding Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister said he regretted allowing the PML-N supremo to leave the country, terming it a “mistake”. Sharif has been convalescing in London since November last year.

“Nawaz Sharif was ill here, but when he left the country he began playing politics,” the prime minister told the journalist. “We were told that Nawaz Sharif might not even reach London.” Prime minister Imran said the only reason that the government allowed Sharif to go abroad was because of the medical opinion of experts.

Commenting upon the role of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) the premier said 95% of the cases against the opposition were registered “during their own tenures”. Even the chairman of the bureau was appointed by the mutual consultations of PML-N and PPP, he added.