ISLAMABAD - The government on Thursday sent mixed signals about a US motion to put Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watch list, while the lawmakers feared the move could succeed, resulting in economic and diplomatic troubles for the country.

The government informed the Senate it was on a global lobbying campaign and was sure about a positive decision for Pakistan in the upcoming Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) meeting in Paris on Sunday (February 18).

However, Foreign Office’s expressing “concern” and “serious objections” to the procedure, adopted for the move that is being jointly sponsored by Washington and London, smacked of Islamabad’s nervousness.

“The real aim of this politically motivated move is to hamper Pakistan’s economic progress,” FO Spokesperson Dr Muahmmad Faisal told a weekly news briefing.

“Pakistan has serious objections to the introduction of this new procedure, which is unprecedented and in clear violation of the established rules/practices of FATF,” he said.

The spokesperson said Pakistan remains committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The ongoing terrorist combating operations by Pakistan army are a proof of this commitment, he added.

As part of its efforts to avert the move, Pakistan has recently frozen and taken over assets of Hafiz Saeed-linked Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) – both of which are listed by the UN Security Council as terrorist organisations.

The lawmakers at National Assembly on Thursday raised serious concerns as they expected an adverse decision in the French capital, where member states of the global anti-money laundering watchdog would consider placing Pakistan on the watch list.

The opposition members came down hard on the government for not taking parliament into confidence on the key issue.

Initiating the debate, PTI MNA Dr Shireen Mazari strongly criticised government’s foreign policy saying it has “no proper foreign policy”. The focus of government was on “other matters”, she added.

“We have failed to make the world realise that it is actually India which is financing terror,” she said, terming it a diplomatic failure.

Miss Mazari also blasted the government for lifting the ban on ‘visa-on-arrival’, saying this policy of appeasement would create security problems for the country.

PPP lawmaker Shazia Marri said the government should have shared its response on FAFT issue with the parliament. “This important matter should not be ignored, as it is directly linked with the whole country,” she remarked.

Mehmood Achakzi, the chief of coalition government partner PkMAP, also said the minsters should take parliament into confidence on the matter. “No minister from the present government or media anchor was discussing this important issue,” he said.

The chair asked the government to take the house into confidence on the matter in today’s (Friday) sitting.

Minister for IPC Riaz Pirzda said the government would surely share its stance on the issue. “Minister for Foreign Affairs is not in the country but soon Pakistan’s response will be shared [with the parliament],” he said.

On the other hand, the government informed the Senate that it was sure to defeat the US motion as it was lobbying in the world for Pakistan’s case.

To a question asked by Senator Farhatullah Babar, State Minister for Finance Rana Muhamad Afzal said the move was political in nature and was being done at behest of anti-Pakistan elements.

“We are aggressively contesting this move and are optimistic to get the support of certain countries, for which interior minister and adviser to the prime minister on finance are already abroad,” he said.

He added that special envoys of the prime minister have been sent to FATF member states to seek support for Pakistan’s position, and minister of interior has recently visited US, UK, Norway and Ireland as part of these efforts.

The minister said that all measures regarding choking of terror financing were being taken to foil the bid. He said that on January 6, 2018, Pakistan shared its latest report with the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering which reflected wide range of enforcement actions taken by Pakistan.

“The report includes a number of additional actions taken by Pakistan to implement UNSC 1267 sanctions on JuD and FIF,” he said.