ISLAMABAD   -   Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said that restoration of Islamabad’s status as family station by the United Nations was a big achievement of Pakistan.

His statement came as Pakistan managed support of Turkey, China and Malaysia to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force blacklist – another diplomatic success.

Speaking to journalists here, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the UN decision reflected confidence of world body in Pakistan. This decision, he said, will “help build trust as well as increase investment in Pakistan.”

The Chair of the International Civil Service Commission may designate a duty station as a non-family duty station for the purpose of additional hardship allowance for service in non-family duty stations –- replaced by non-family service allowance in the revised compensation package.

This applies to those duty stations where the United Nations Department of Safety and Security decides that for reasons of safety and security all eligible dependants are restricted from being present at the duty station for a period of six months or longer.  Duty station could be declared as ‘non-family’ prior to the six month mark following evacuation as the Commission decided to specifically have the situation assessed at the three-month mark.

At that time, the Under- Secretary-General for Safety and Security would review the situation and advise the Chair of the Commission. At the six-month mark the definitive decision on the family or non-family status would normally need to be made by the Chair of the Commission after consultation with the Department of Safety and Security.

Family restrictions for reasons of safety and security and designation of non-family duty stations are normally reviewed twice a year, in conjunction with the mid-year and annual hardship reviews in June and November each year. Non-family designation may be introduced or lifted outside the scheduled time if the security situation so warrants.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said such a determination and classification by the UN was a rightful acknowledgement of the turnaround in the security environment in Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan looked forward to working closely with the United Nations system in Pakistan, facilitating the valuable work that the UN officials carry out throughout the country and extending a cordial welcome to their families. Earlier, the UN restored status of Islamabad as family station for its international staff.

Pakistan escapes

FATF blacklist

Pakistan also managed to garner the support of Turkey, China and Malaysia to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force blacklist.

The FATF is expected to formally announce the decision of not blacklisting Islamabad in its Plenary scheduled in Paris on October 13-18.

In June 2018, Pakistan was placed in the ‘Gray’ list and given a 27-point action plan by the Paris-based FATF. This plan was reviewed at the last plenary in October 2018 and for the second time in February this year, when the country was again put into the ‘Gray’ list after India submitted new information about Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

Turkey was the only country that had opposed the move backed by the US, the UK and India. However, Beijing abstained. The FATF continuing Pakistan in the ‘grey list’  means its downgrading by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union and also a reduction in risk rating by the Moody’s, the Standard and Poor’s and the Fitch. This will add to the financial problems of Pakistan, which is seeking aid from all possible international avenues. As per the 36-nation FATF charter, the support of at least three member states is essential to avoid the blacklisting and a stronger support to get a clean chit.

The FATF had placed Pakistan on grey list during FATF Plenary in Paris in June 2018 for not acting against terror financing on its soil. The United States, Britain, Germany and France voted in favour of placing Pakistan on grey list during FATF meeting. Then caretaker finance minister Shamshad Akhtar and senior officials of the financial monitoring unit were in Paris to defend Pakistan. Islamabad also took steps afterwards under the FATF regulations.