Asad Umar asks FATF to replace India with another member to co-chair Asia-Pacific Joint Group
Pakistan has raised serious questions on India’s involvement in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s affairs. It has demanded of the world body to oust India from its Asia-Pacific Joint Group due to its animosity towards Pakistan. “We firmly believe that India’s involvement in the International Co-operation Review Group process will not be fair towards Pakistan,” said Finance Minister Asad Umar in a letter written to FATF President Marshall Billingslea on Saturday. Umar has asked the FATF president to appoint any other member of the FATF as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group, in place of India, to ensure that the body's review process is fair, unbiased and objective. The finance minister stated that India’s animosity towards Pakistan was 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. Related: Pakistan’s ‘grey list’ fate still hangs in the balance as FATF recommends more steps to curb terrorism financing The letter referred to the Indian finance minister’s statement regarding efforts for global isolation of Pakistan and the Indian call to blacklist Pakistan during the ICRG meeting on February 18, 2019, which demonstrated Indian intentions to hurt Pakistan’s economic interests. Umar said 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,” Umar wrote. He urged the FATF to appoint another country as co-chair of the joint group instead of India to ensure an impartial assessment of Pakistan’s progress in 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 read. Related: European Union may add Pakistan to its money laundering blacklist The finance 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." Pakistan raised its concern 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 in regard to re-composition of the Joint Group. Similar concerns were also raised with FATF Secretariat and ICRG Co-chairs on the sidelines of the FATF Plenary of February 2019. Follow SAMAA English on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.