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Saudi Arabia, Turkey block US move to put Pakistan on terror watch list

February 22, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China this week formed a trio to block a US-led move to place Pakistan on an international terror-financing watch list, a report by the Wall Street Journal has revealed.

Saudi Arabia is a cooperative ally of the US, Turkey is an ally that has differed greatly in the Syrian conflict, and China opposed the motion due to its rivalry with India. All three nations have strong relations with Pakistan, cooperating militarily, diplomatically and economically. The joint opposition against the US motion came after Pakistan appealed for support, resulting in the country being given a three-month postponement of the verdict.

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The US is currently seeking to reverse the decision on the watch list by gathering support at a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a private international organisation that monitors countries’ efforts to combat money-laundering and the financing of terror, in Paris yesterday.

Officials involved in the process have claimed that a new vote on action against Pakistan, and even on further pressure on Saudi Arabia, could take place today.

The US was supported in its attempt to put Pakistan on the watch list by major allies including the UK, France, and Germany, which are all part of the 35 nations and two regional organisations that make up the FATF membership. The meeting is set to continue until tomorrow.

If the lobbying efforts by the US are successful and Pakistan is added to the Task Force’s list of “high-risk” countries that do not do enough to fight terror, it could have a severe impact on the South Asian nation’s already-struggling economy by deterring banks and international companies that would otherwise potentially invest.

Read more: US returns Saudi Arabia to list of countries of concern

Since President Donald Trump took office last year, the US has led a brutal campaign against Pakistan by claiming that it has not done enough to fight terrorism in the region and blames it for financing terror groups in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Its forgetfulness of the Pakistani military’s numerous operations against terrorists on its border and the countless terror attacks within the country itself has resulted in the US withholding up to $2 billion in security aid.

Pakistan has denied all accusations of financing terrorism with the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa announcing that there are no terrorist training camps on Pakistani territory.