FM highlights importance, urgency of legislation on FATF; urges opposition to keep national interests ahead of personal ones


ISLAMABAD, Jul 29 (APP): Highlighting the importance and urgency of legislation for getting Pakistan’s name out of the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday urged the opposition parties to extend cooperation by keeping the national interests ahead of the personal ones.

“The laws introduced by the government are in the national interests. Please keep the interests of Pakistan ahead. Don’t blackmail. The government will not be blackmailed,” Qureshi said while addressing a press conference here along with Special Assistant to PM Shehzad Akbar and Parliamentary Secretary Maleeka Bukhari.

He said since India wanted Pakistan’s name pushed from the grey list to black list of FATF, failure in getting the legislation on FATF passed, would be very bad for the country.

Referring to the government-opposition negotiations on the legislation, the Foreign Minister said the opposition put conditions for cooperation in FATF-related legislation and wanted the government to accept their amendments in accountability law.

“At one side, there is a national interest, while on the other there is personal interest. We said, don’t equate the one with other,” he remarked and questioned why the opposition parties did not bring change in the accountability law.

The Foreign Minister said that if the 34 amendments proposed by the opposition were accepted, it would be tantamount to compromise the accountability process.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who came to power after 22 years of struggle, believed in across the board accountability and was committed to root out the menace of corruption and would never compromise on it.

As regards the remarks made by PML-N leader Khawaja Asif about his speech in the National Assembly, Qureshi said he would only say that the opposition was trying to get their amendments in NAB law approved under the garb of FATF legislation.

The minister said that the corrupt would be dealt with sternly under the law and Insha Allah they would not be able to escape the accountability process.

He reiterated the government’s offer and readiness on talks with the opposition on the legislation of national interests and said, “The doors of negotiations are never closed. Breakthroughs emerge after deadlocks”.

Regarding his meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Mian Nawaz Sharif in 2013, Qureshi said he was offered the slot of foreign minister by the PML-N but he opted to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and stand with Imran Khan.

With the grace of Allah Almighty, the PTI came to power in 2018 and it would never compromise on the issue of accountability which was the core of its manifesto, he added.