China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – the three close allies of Pakistan – have joined hands to block a move by the Trump administration to place Islamabad on an international terror-financing watch list, a US media report said today.
While Pakistan has claimed a victory of sorts, the US was working behind the scenes during the ongoing Paris meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) so as to take action against the country which it believes has not acted against terrorist financing and the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions.
The Wall Street Journal which first reported about the development said this was one of the "rare disagreements" between Saudi Arabia and the administration of President Donald Trump.
Saudi Arabia, it said was acting on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The report said the US is still trying for the FATF to take a decision on this by today. Pakistan yesterday claimed it had foiled US-led efforts to place it on a terror financing watch-list after the country was granted a three-month reprieve by the Paris-based international watchdog FATF.
The FATF, a global body that combats terrorist financing and money laundering, met in Paris amid reports that the US with 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.
Noting that the Trump administration is angry with Pakistan's inadequate efforts to combat terror groups, the daily said the US has sought to ratchet up pressure on Islamabad.
Last month, it froze some USD 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan.
The US says Pakistan is not taking action against groups like the Haqqani network and the Taliban. Islamabad has denied those allegations.
China, Pakistan's all-weather ally, has repeatedly blocked efforts by India, the US and the UK to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
Pakistan being added to the "list of countries deemed 'high risk' for doing too little to curb terror financing," would have a financial implication for the country.
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 said.
The FATF meeting is expected to continue till tomorrow.
Yesterday, US state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the FATF is expected to take a decision by today on adding Pakistan to the 'grey list' of countries not doing enough to comply with terrorist-funding regulations. PTI