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FATF Woes: Lawmaker Calls For Probe Against ‘Criminal Negligence’ of Past Rulers

Shireen Mazari alleged that previous governments did not apply for FATF membership because it would have “exposed their money laundering and corruption”.

PKONWEB — One of the most vocal ministers in PTI-led government Shireen Mazari on Tuesday called for a parliamentary probe into “criminal negligence” of past governments and bureaucrats for not taking steps to make Pakistan a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

During Tuesday’s National Assembly session, the Human Rights Minister told the Lower House that the financial watchdog was established by the G-7 countries in 1989 to act against money laundering.

“India became its (FATF) member in 1998 after the constitution of Framework of Monitoring Unit. Since then, India is creating problems for us every now and then,” she said.

“Parliament should conduct an investigation against specific members of the bureaucracy, foreign ministers and institutional heads [of previous governments] for not applying for the membership of FATF,” she said.

She alleged that previous governments did not apply for FATF membership because it would have “exposed their money laundering and corruption”.

“If we were a part of FATF, we would not have been facing difficulties,” she said. Pakistan was placed on watchdog’s so-called grey list in June last year for not complying with international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT). Last week, it narrowly avoided being placed on FATF’s blacklist but only until October.

The international media, while reporting the FATF decision, had noted that “India wants Pakistan blacklisted, which would likely result in sanctions”.

Last week, Pakistan managed to garner much-needed support from three member states of the FATF to avoid being placed on its blacklist, but black clouds are still hanging over it.

An aggressive diplomatic push from Islamabad frustrated the threat with the support of Turkey, China, and Malaysia, but danger still lurks.

Pakistan has to meet the FATF deadline — January 2019 — to complete its action plan aimed at fully blocking the money laundering and other financial loopholes.

India is currently a co-chair of the joint group of FATF and the Asia Pacific Group (APG), which deals with Pakistan.