While avoiding any comment on India’s claims of having played a role in ensuring Pakistan remained on the global financial watchdog’s increased monitoring list, the US has said it recognizes and supports Pakistan's continued efforts to meet the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) requirements and acknowledges it has made "significant progress" on the original action plan agreed in June 2018
While avoiding any comment on India’s claims of having played a role in ensuring Pakistan remained on the global financial watchdog’s increased monitoring list, the US has said it recognizes and supports Pakistan's continued efforts to meet the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) requirements and acknowledges it has made "significant progress" on the original action plan agreed in June 2018.
The US statement came after the Indian newspaper Hindustan Times quoted the country’s Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar as saying that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government had ensured Pakistan remained on the FATF's “grey list”.
“Due to us, Pakistan is under the lens of FATF and it was kept in the grey list," Jaishankar had reportedly said while addressing a virtual training program on foreign policy for BJP leaders.
“We have been successful in pressurizing Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan's behavior has changed is because of pressure put by India by various measures,” the Indian minister said.
Reacting to these remarks, Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) stated on Monday that Jaishankar's statement vindicated Pakistan's longstanding stance on "India's negative role" in the global financial watchdog.
The FO said the Indian foreign minister's statement had exposed India's "true colors" and "duplicitous" role.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, answering a question about Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi accusing India of politicizing the FATF to ensure Pakistan remained on the watchdog's increased monitoring list, avoided any reference to Jaishankar’s statement.
"Well, you’re referring to Pakistan’s obligations under the Financial Action Task Force, and we do recognize, and we support Pakistan’s continued efforts to satisfy those obligations. Pakistan has made significant progress on its first action plan with 26 of 27 action items largely addressed," said Price.
He added that the US would "encourage Pakistan to continue working with the FATF and the international community to swiftly complete the remaining action item[s] by demonstrating that terrorism financing, investigations, and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated groups."
"We do further encourage Pakistan to expeditiously implement its new second action plan," he said.
The FATF had announced on June 25 that Pakistan would continue to remain on the watchdog's increased monitoring list till it addressed the single remaining item on the original action plan agreed to in June 2018 as well as all items on a parallel action plan handed out by the watchdog's regional partner — the Asia Pacific Group — in 2019.
According to the Pakistani media outlet Dawn, the addition of a new action plan alongside the original one, which Islamabad had completed except for one agenda item, had raised eyebrows among analysts and observers, who had said the goalpost was being shifted for Pakistan despite its high level of compliance.
Last month, Foreign Minister Qureshi had said that India wanted to use the FATF forum for "political purposes" but should not be allowed to do so.
Earlier this year, the FO had criticized India for linking a conviction of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi with the FATF, terming it "yet another Indian attempt to politicize FATF and use its processes against Pakistan".
The FATF had formally placed Pakistan on its 'grey list' in June 2018 due to strategic deficiencies in its anti-money laundering/counter-terror financing regime after a push from India supported by the US, the UK and some European countries.