Economic experts hopeful of Pak’s exclusion from FATF Grey list

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Observing that complying with international laws creates many economic and other opportunities for countries; speakers at a seminar here Monday expressed the hope that Pakistan would be removed from the Grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the country had already taken initiatives in this regard.

The provinces have already addressed some concerns, while the ministry of interior had also taken measures and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was also working on making financial monitoring more effective, said an economic expert, Dr. Moazzam in his detailed presentation on “Policy Implications of FATF and Curbing Terror Financing.”

The Seminar titled “Dynamics of Conflict Economy and its Implications for Pakistan,” was jointly organized by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Ministry of Defence here.

Dr. Moazzam was of the view that although inclusion of Pakistan in Grey list was an ‘arm-twisting’ tactics of some powers, who wanted the country to do more, however added that there was need to focus on internal regulation mechanism to comply with international laws for better future of the country.

He was of the view that FATF watch-list carried no direct legal implications, but brings extra scrutiny from regulators and financial institutions that could reduce trade and investment and increase transaction costs.

He discussed how Pakistan was on the FATF grey-list from 2012 to 2015, a period during which Pakistan’s imports and exports remained stable and the grey-listing did not raise any significant barriers to the country’s trade.

He said that Pakistan needed better regulation mechanism not only to comply with the requirements of FATF, but most importantly for greater employment opportunities for the youth to engage them in activities that benefit the economy at large.

On the occasion, Director Presidency, Dr. Kashif Mehmood, informed the participants about the Pegham-i-Pakistan book and its subsequent objectives.

He said it was easy to create and enemy and then form strategy to fight it but the real challenge was to identify the very conflict, and Pegham-e-Pakistan was a step in that direction.

He said that following the instructions of the President of Pakistan, on 26th May 2017, religious scholars and clerics from all schools of thought were invited to develop a narrative to counter extremism in the country.

It was decided in the conference that the only document to be referred to for general consensus was Quran, any form of suicide was declared a sin, hence forbidden, it was recognized people from all faiths were equal citizens of the country and no one could have a right to declare anyone a non-Muslim.

He also told the audience that another conference was organized in which all the vice chancellors of public universities were invited, including VC PIDE, to develop policy working papers around the theme of ‘Peace through Education”.

The document was circulated and shared with Muslim scholars around the globe and received appreciation and much support. He concluded stating that narratives take time, effort but more importantly public endorsement to develop.

On the occasion, Head of Department, Business Studies PIDE, Usman Mustafa informed the participants about the various stage of conflict.

He was of the view that 64 percent of country’s population was youth, which was an opportunity for the country but at the same time could prove challenges if better employment opportunities were not created.

He stressed the need for policy interventions to lead the country out of challenges, stressing the need for developing logical arguments to compete at international forums. “Don’t raise your voice, improve your arguments,” he stated.

He was of the view that due to improvement in security situation, tourism sector witnessed improvement, adding that it helped improve the other sectors of country’s economy.

Speaking on the occasion, a prominent lawyer, Ahmed Bilal Sofi said that study of international laws was a must as the country had rectified many agreements, treaties and multilateral conventions.

He was of the view that following of the international laws provided many opportunities for the countries.

Terming the Pegham-e-Pakistan, a legal milestone in current era, he said this document presented a strong counter narrative by the state to promote peace. He urged the students of PIDE to conduct their research work while combining economics with law for leading coming generations to progress and development.