Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey block US move against Pakistan on terror watch list

Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey block US move against Pakistan on terror watch list

New York: China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have joined hands to block a move by United State President Donald Trump’s administration to place Pakistan on an international terror-financing watch list.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the United States was working behind the scenes during the ongoing Paris meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), so as to take action against Pakistan, which it believes that it has not acted against terrorist financing and the implementation of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

Saudi Arabia said that it was acting on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Meanwhile, the US is still trying for the FATF to take a decision on Pakistan’s stance on Friday.

However, Islamabad claimed that it had foiled US-led efforts to ban 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) from collecting charities after the country was granted a three-month reprieve by FATF.

The FATF, a global body that combats terrorism financing and money laundering, met in Paris amid reports that the US with the support of some European allies was trying to place Pakistan on a list of countries that financially support terrorism.

“The officials said the US effort, which included pressure on the Saudis, raised the possibility of a fresh vote on action against Pakistan as soon as Thursday. The Pakistanis were scrambling to shore up support,” the WSJ report said.

Washington has accused Islamabad of not taking steps to crack down on terrorist groups such as the Haqqani network and the Taliban. The latter has repeatedly denied such allegations.

China has repeatedly blocked efforts of India, the US and the United Kingdom to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.

“Pakistan, on the other hand, feared that its name in the list of countries deemed ‘high risk’ for doing too little to curb terror financing, would have serious financial effects on the country,” the WSJ said.

“As a result of this inclusion, banks, other lenders and international companies seeking to do business with Pakistan could rethink financial ties, putting a damper on its already struggling economy, the daily added.

US state department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Wednesday said that the FATF was expected to take a decision soon on adding Pakistan to the ‘grey list’ of countries not doing enough to curb terrorist funding.

Pakistan was on the FATF ‘grey list’ from 2012 to 2015 and is now scrambling to avert being put back on the list over fears that its economy could be damaged.

The US State Department in 2014 had named the JuD as “foreign terrorist organisation”, a status that freezes assets of the organisation under its jurisdiction.

Saeed is also looking to contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan and has, thereby, formed a party by the name of Milli Muslim League (MML).

New Delhi has, time and again, protested against Islamabad for harbouring Saeed, who is wanted for plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks. (ANI)