ISLAMABAD: As three major procedures to scrutinise Pakistan’s compliance with important international agreements, are due to take place in the coming weeks, the Foreign Office says the government is confident, that Pakistan is well prepared and should be able to satisfy these international institutions, provided the assessments are “objective” and there is no “political angle”.
The three international procedures include release of a status report from the European Commission in Brussels to gather how Pakistan has performed on the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus conditions, which gives the government here to export duty free goods to the European Union. The EU will also asses human rights situation in the country.
Second is the meeting in France in February of the Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which will give an assessment of how Pakistan has progressed in areas of money laundering and terrorist financing.
The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
This will be the first FATF assessment of the government after there was a change in command at the Ministry of Finance, with Ishaq Dar stepping out, and being replaced by Rana Muhammad Afzal.
The US and India have at every forum of FATF strongly criticised Pakistan saying the UNSC sanctions not being fully implemented.
The government is not commenting on reports that FATF members will also be traveling to Pakistan at the end of the month. It is in this Paris meeting specially, that the Foreign Office says there should be an objective assessment and no room for politics.
The third scrutiny for Pakistan this week is the arrival of The United Nations Security Council’s sanctions monitoring team (UNSC 1267) on a two-day visit, to review Pakistan’s compliance with the world body’s sanctions regime.
“We are okay with all these three assessments and we do not see any problem as Pakistan has made tangible progress in all areas and we should be able to satisfy the European Union, the UNSC 1267 Committee and the FATF assessment procedure in Paris”, spokesman at the Foreign Office tells The News.
On whether Pakistan was under any sort of pressure from the UNSC 1267 Committee, the spokesman said there was no reason to be pressurised. “There were here about two and a half years ago as well and there is no issue of confrontation as we are quite comfortable and they are welcome to discuss all the related issues”, the spokesman added.
Regarding the European Union status report on the GSP plus status, the spokesman said, “We are okay with it and we do not foresee any problem as we have made tangible progress in all areas”.
With just a few months left before the sitting government ends its tenure, it will be interesting to monitor how it has complied with core international standards in return for trade incentives, especially as military courts continue to hang to death alleged terrorists.
The EU has time and again reacted strongly over lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty in Pakistan, saying that the death penalty is not an effective tool in the fight against terrorism.
In order to maintain GSP+ Pakistan has to keep ratification and effectively implement 27 core international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance. This is closely monitored by the European Commission and also under a permanent scrutiny by the EU member states and European Parliament, as well as civil society.
To comply with FATF regulations, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) sent out warnings to companies against “donating cash to the entities and individuals listed under the United Nations Security Council sanctions committee’s consolidated list”.
“This will give an opportunity to share the steps taken by the government to implement the sanctions regime”, says one official. Measures have also been taken against proscribed organisations, prominent amongst them Hafiz Saeed’s charity Jamaatud Dawa (JuD).