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Imran lambasts opposition for sabotaging efforts to exit FATF grey list

In an aggressive reaction against the opposition, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has lashed out, saying that the political parties were sabotaging the governments efforts to exit the grey list of the Global Watchdog on money laundering and terror financing, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Khan's statement came as a reaction after the upper house (Senate of Pakistan) rejected two critical FATF-related bills through a voice vote, demanding apology from a sitting MNA (Member National Assembly) on his recent remarks.

Imran Khan tweeted: "Today in Senate the opposition defeated 2 critical FATF-related bills: Anti Money Laundering & ICT Waqf bills. From day one I have maintained that the self-serving interests of the opposition leaders & the country's interests are divergent. As accountability noose has tightened."

Khan maintained that the opposition parties would put Pakistan on the FATF blacklist unless the government gives them NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), a term being used for a backdoor deal to facilitate opposition party leaders in corruption cases against them.

"They are hiding behind façade of democracy to protect their loot and plunder," he maintained adding that his government would not give them NRO under any circumstances.

"Let me make this clear; no matter what happens, my government will not allow any NRO as it would be betrayal of nation's trust in holding plunderers of public wealth accountable," he added.

"Musharraf gave NRO to two political leaders which quadrupled our debts and destroyed economy. There will be no more NROs," he asserted.

Prime Minister Imran Khan's aggressive tweets have come after news about contacts between leaders of opposition parties to formulate an anti-government campaign, aimed at toppling the government surfaced. This was coupled with uproar in the Senate of Pakistan against comments made by government benches against the opposition, prompting them to oppose the bills and reject them through a voice vote.

Imran Khan's government has been eyeball-to-eyeball with the opposition since day one as its ministers have been giving hard statements, calling opposition leaders and parties, corrupts, thieves and looters.

The political temperature has gone up since news about increased contacts between opposition party leader of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan People Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Jamiat Ulema Islam – Fazl (JUI-F), discussing the anti-government campaign, emerged.

Pakistan has been working hard to pass FATF-related bills in the parliament and the senate and has sought opposition's support in doing so. But while it has sought help from the opposition, its ministers continue to accuse and blame them for seeking amendments in the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, to facilitate their leaders leverage in the ongoing corruption cases against them.

Pakistan government sits on the grey-list of the FATF and is feeling the pressure of being pushed into the blacklist if it fails to completely comply with the 27-point action plan..