The Friday announcement by the unnamed official as well as an unidentified diplomat came after the US spent the past week “lobbying member countries of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan on a so-called grey list of nations that are not doing enough to combat terrorism financing,” Reuters reported, noting that both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
FATF’s move on Thursday - which is expected to pose a major blow to Pakistan’s economy - came as part of a wider strategy by Washington to pressure Islamabad into severing alleged links to militants waging war in neighboring Afghanistan, as well as backing Kashmiri resistance groups fighting Indian rule over the disputed Himalayan region.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal refused, however, to confirm or deny the report at a regular press briefing on Friday, noting that the FATF would make an announcement on its website.
“Let the things come out, and then we can comment on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” he said.
Islamabad was on the list for three years until 2015.
The development also came amid reports that Pakistan had been given a three-month reprieve before being placed on the list, which could hinder banking transactions and harm foreign investment.
Islamabad, the reports added, had launched last-minute efforts to avoid being black listed, such as taking over charities linked to a powerful militant figure.
However, the measure proved insufficient and FATF determined that Pakistan would be placed back on the watchlist, said a senior Pakistani official and a diplomat with knowledge of the latest FATF discussions.
“The decision was taken yesterday. The chair (of FATF) is expected to make a statement some time this afternoon in Paris,” said the diplomat as quoted in the report.
This is while China, Turkey, and the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had opposed the US-led move against Pakistan earlier in the week, but by late Thursday, both China and the GCC dropped their opposition, according to the diplomatic source cited in the report.
Under FATF rules, one country’s opposition is not sufficient to prevent a motion from being successful. Britain, France and Germany also supported Washington’s move.
Last month, US President Donald Trump ordered major cuts in military aid to Pakistan over what the Washington views as its failure to crack down on militants.
Pakistan, however, denies allegations that it sponsors Taliban militants battling US forces in neighboring Afghanistan and insists that it is doing all it can to combat regional militancy.