Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday expressed the hope that Pakistan would be out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list as the watchdog is expected to announce its decision after making an onsite visit earlier last month.

In June, Pakistan completed FATF action plans but the watchdog still kept the nation on the grey list as the removal was conditional to an on-site visit.

The watchdog’s team conducted its visit in September and according to the Foreign Office, it was “smooth and successful”.

In his press conference in Washington, Dar said that Pakistan worked hard to exit FATF’s grey list and now a meeting is expected in a few days and the government is hopeful the country will come out of it.

The first FATF Plenary under the two-year Singapore Presidency of T Raja Kumar will take place on October 20-21, while the watchdog will hold a press conference to announce its outcomes on the same day that the meeting ends.

US VISIT: On his visit to the United States, Dar said that the purpose of the tour was to attend International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings and to ensure these financial organisations that Pakistan would continue its economic policies.

The finance minister said that the global lenders have asked him not to give subsidies, while he also maintained that Pakistan will complete all promises made to the IMF and the World Bank.

Speaking on the financial difficulties Pakistan faces due to the floods, the finance minister said that WB and other international agencies had estimated the losses to be at $32.4 billion.

“In addition, $16 billion has been estimated for a flood rehabilitation programme in the country, while the government is already working on a rehabilitation programme for flood affected people,” he said.

BIDEN STATEMENT: Responding to US President Joe Biden’s statement about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Dar said due to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s irresponsible statements Washington raised concerns and doubts.

“But Pakistan’s command and control system is in safe and strong hand, it was safe from 2013 till 2018 and it will be,” he added.

The US president’s remarks drew strong criticism from Pakistan, with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemning the statement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also handed a “strong” demarche to US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome.

INTERNAL POLITICS: Dar said that 10 months were long enough for the government to stage a political comeback.

“We had to choose between saving our politics or saving the state. And we chose to save the state,” Dar said. “We knew it will have consequences, but we opted for the state.”

But several initial questions at the conference focused on the results of Sunday’s by-elections that gave an unprecedented victory to the PTI. Commenting on the results, he said that the parties now in the government were aware of “the consequences” of moving the vote of no-confidence, but they went for it because not doing so would have disastrous consequences for Pakistan.

“Allowing the previous government to continue would have been worse than the floods,” he added.

Asked if President Biden’s remarks on Pakistan’s nuclear programme helped Imran’s election campaign, he reiterated Prime Minister Shehbaz’s assurance that the country had a robust command and control system and the US officials often acknowledged it too.

“But when a politician who has been a PM (Mr Khan) says the nuclear programme was good under me, but not now, this is how the world would react,” he added. “You should condemn him; he is doing petty politics.”

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