THE visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the United States was important as during interaction with the US officials, the Foreign Minister not only voiced Pakistan’s genuine concerns on rising tensions in the Middle East but also highlighted India’s continued persecution campaign in occupied Kashmir.
The FM deserves commendation for calling a spade a spade especially on prevailing situation in occupied Kashmir proving once again that Pakistan stands by oppressed Kashmiri people and will continue to raise voice at every bilateral and multilateral platform. The visit was also significant in the context that the Foreign Minister also reportedly raised the issue of exclusion of Pakistan from the FATF list. During a news briefing on Friday night, Mr Qureshi urged the United States to get Pakistan off the grey list. Next FATF meeting will be held in February and as pointed out by the FM, this is of immense importance for us as it leads to a plenary meeting in Paris in April where the world body will decide whether Pakistan remains on the list or is taken off, and if not removed by April, Pakistan may move to list of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.
The fact of matter is that ever since placement on grey list, which in fact was far more a political decision taken at the behest of the US to pressurise Pakistan, the country has taken a series of steps to come into compliance with global body’s requirements such as proscribing key terror groups, whose open operations were a bond of contention and seizing their assets. As Pak-US ties stand improved and Pakistan has fully facilitated the Afghan peace process, we also expect a positive response from Washington to this end. Our Foreign Office also needs to engage with other members of the FATF in order to foil an Indian design that is bent upon placing Pakistan on the blacklist.