ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has officially asked the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove India from co-chair of the watchdog’s regional body Asia Pacific Group (APG) to ensure fair, unbiased and objective review process.
In a letter addressed to the FATF president, Minister for Finance Asad Umar asked Marshall Billingslea to appoint any other member of FATF as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group, in place of India, to ensure that FATF review process is fair, unbiased and objective.
“We want to remove India from the review process of FATF because we want assessment on technical grounds instead of political considerations from any side,” top official sources said while talking to The News on Saturday. India had actively campaigned against Pakistan and distributed a report with different countries across the globe and influenced the minds against Pakistan.
“At least, India should be out from the assessment process as we want to be assessed on technical grounds and not on political grounds,” said the official sources.
The FATF’s next review is expected to take place in May/June probably in Colombo. Despite Indian opposition, Pakistan has managed to get smooth sailing in the last review of the FATF held in Paris in February 2019.
In a letter addressed to the FATF president, Asad Umar stated that India’s animosity towards Pakistan is well known and the recent violation of Pakistan’s airspace and dropping of bombs inside Pakistani territory was another manifestation of India’s hostile attitude.
The letter referred to Indian finance minister’s statement regarding efforts for global isolation of Pakistan and Indian call for the blacklisting of Pakistan during the ICRG meeting on February 18, 2019, which demonstrated Indian intentions to hurt Pakistan’s economic interests.
The minister stated that given the ‘clear Indian motivation to hurt Pakistan’s economic interests, Indian presence among the evaluators and as co-chair of the Joint Group would undermine the impartiality and spirit of the ‘peer review’ process, which lies at the heart of FATF’s methodology and objective assessment. “We firmly believe that India’s involvement in the ICRG process will not be fair towards Pakistan,” said the letter.
The minister urged that FATF to appoint another country as co-chair of the Joint Group instead of India to ensure an impartial assessment of Pakistan’s progress with regard to the FATF Action Plan.
“The ICRG and FATF meetings must not be allowed to be used as a platform by India to make political speeches against Pakistan.
The sanctity of FATF processes require that separate assessments by individual countries for politically-motivated outcomes are not allowed under the ICRG review,” the letter said. The minister assured the FATF president that Pakistan remains firm in its commitment to work with FATF/ICRG and the Joint Group and to implement the Action Plan and demanded that FATF must take steps to ensure that the ICRG process is fair, unbiased and impartial towards Pakistan.
Pakistan had also raised its concerns with the Asia Pacific Group in June last year, over India’s negative attitude and its intentions to hurt Pakistan’s interests but no action was taken regarding re-composition of the Joint Group.
Similar concerns were also raised with the FATF Secretariat and ICRG co-chairs on the sidelines of the FATF Plenary of February 2019.