Pakistan hires US lobbying firm to move out of FATF grey list ahead of key meet
According to Indian officials, the move "seems like another money-making project for corrupt entities in Pakistan".
October 11, 2020 / 07:58 PM IST
Pakistan has hired an American lobbying firm to push a pro-Islamabad line and wriggle out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list ahead of the watchdog's virtual meet this month, News18 has reported.
According to the report, Texas-based Linden Strategies has been hired by Pakistan to lobby with US President Donald Trump's administration, which is likely to decide Pakistan's fate during the meeting.
"Pakistan needs the support of 12 out of 39 countries to get its name dropped from the grey list. The US alone controls a block of 20 countries," an official representing India at FATF told the news channel.
The Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended later on due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeking to wriggle out of the FATF's grey list, debt-ridden Pakistan in August imposed financial sanctions on 88 banned terror groups and their leaders, including 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
However, the US had earlier dismissed Pakistan's claim that the country was acting against these individuals and organisations and the US State Department Country Reports on Terrorism 2019 had contradicted Pakistan's claims.
According to officials, Pakistan hopes to change this perception by using the lobbying firm's services, but Indian officials who spoke to the news channel were skeptical about the prospect.
"This seems like another money-making project for corrupt entities in Pakistan," an official told the news channel.
The FATF meeting this month will review Pakistan's compliance with the 13 remaining action points. The FATF will examine if the country had demonstrated remedial actions and sanctions applied in cases of violations relating to terrorist financing risk management and terror financing sanctions obligations.