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PM pushes to strengthen FATF as Imran calls blacklist part of India’s ‘agenda’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Executive Director of UNICEF Henreitta H. Fore on the sidelines of the UN session, in New York.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Executive Director of UNICEF Henreitta H. Fore on the sidelines of the UN session, in New York.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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The meeting was organised by Jordan, France and New Zealand, and attended by leaders of about 24 countries.

Institutional mechanisms against terrorism like UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) listings must not be “politicised”, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a special session on extremism and terrorism at the world body, in comments that appeared to be aimed at China and Pakistan.

“Prime Minister Modi said terrorists should not be allowed to get funds and arms,” Gitesh Sarma, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists. “For this objective to be realised, we need to avoid politicisation of mechanisms like UN listings and the FATF,” Mr. Sharma quoted Mr. Modi as saying.

Mr. Modi was speaking at the “Leaders’ Dialogue on Strategic Responses to Terrorist and Violent Extremist Narratives”, held on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly session on Monday. 

The meeting was organised by Jordan, France and New Zealand, and attended by leaders of about 24 countries, but did not include either China or Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan referred to India’s efforts as part of a concerted plan against his country. “We found India was pushing to blacklist us at FATF, and we realised they have an agenda,” he said at the Council for Foreign Relations.

Mr. Modi’s reference to UNSC listings comes months after China finally withdrew its veto on the sanctions listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, something Beijing had opposed for more than a decade. 

The reference to the FATF is significant, as the global body to counter terror financing will meet in November this year to decide on whether Pakistan should be ‘blacklisted’ for its failure to take credible action. 

China has assumed the presidency of the group that works by consensus, and India has been keen to see Pakistan, which is on the FATF ‘grey list’ at present, face stricter financial scrutiny till it stops terror groups listed by the UNSC from operating there.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan referred to India’s efforts at the FATF as part of a concerted plan against his country. “We found India was pushing to blacklist us at FATF, and we realised they have an agenda,” he said at the Council for Foreign Relations.

Significantly, the FATF came up at another UN session on Monday, an informal meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), where Indian and Pakistani ministers were present. 

Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan stated, “Organisations such as the FATF are engaged in maintaining integrity of the international financial system in Asia for combating terror financing. Members of the CICA must continue to support the FATF in its endeavours.” He said this in the presence of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 11:14:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pm-pushes-to-strengthen-fatf-as-imran-calls-blacklist-part-of-indias-agenda/article29502400.ece

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