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FATF Watch List, Will Pakistan Budge ?

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GAURAV SURIYAL
GAURAV SURIYAL
I pen down articles on international affairs.

Pakistan is on the spotlight and once again for all bad reasons. FATF had reviewed Pakistan’s counterterrorism and anti-money laundering initiatives and placed it under its watchlist.

What is FATF

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a ‘policy-making body’ founded in 1989 initially with the aim to combat money laundering but its role expanded with the inclusion of terrorist financing. The recommendations are non-binding in nature but the report prepared by thirty-seven members and around twenty-two observer organizations comprising India, EU, GCC and UN, cannot be ignored.

USA’s Move

The USA and UK jointly moved the resolution co-sponsored by its allies France and Germany. President Trump is taking punitive action against Pakistan, as a growing concern in Washington that its ‘ally’ is working against its interest. This action came in the backdrop of Donald Trump’s new year tweet in which he reprimanded Pakistan for its role in Afghanistan.

India’s Role

It is being widely perceived in Pakistani establishment that India is behind the game plan to push the resolution and used the USA as a front to unleash its anti-Pakistan policy. However, India has a principled stand and had been consistently supporting the international community in its fight against terrorism.

There was a dramatic turn of events took place when Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in his tweet divulged details about the FATF plenary meet and breached its confidentiality.

China, GCC (led by Saudi Arabia) and Turkey opposed the motion. But after intense lobbying, China withdrew its stance on assurance by USA and India to support its vice-presidentship candidature at FATF. Similarly, Saudi Arabia retreated on the promise of full ‘member‘ status.

Ministry of External Affairs of India spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan got recommended for the greylist as it has not complied with its commitment to implement the UNSCR 1267 Sanction in its letter and spirit and thereby failed to keep up with the standards of FATF.

According to UNSCR 1267 Sanction list Hafiz Saeed (founder of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba & 26/11 Mumbai mastermind) is a designated terrorist. But what perturbed India and USA is the open support by Pakistan establishment in mainstreaming him through the electoral process.

WILL PAKISTAN BUDGE?

Pakistan remained on the greylist between 2012-15 but nothing changed. It continued to actively support and harbour UN designated terrorists providing safe sanctuaries to Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network. However to bamboozle the international community it issued an ordinance to freeze all the assets of Hafiz Saeed and its organization Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation.

Pakistan economy is in shatters for decades but Pakistan establishment has mastered the art to hang it in the balance. Apart from China, there is no other country investing so heavily in Pakistan. Though Pakistan got a reprieve of three months to fulfil the FATF guidelines before the scheduled meet in June 2018, the expectation on any drastic change is negligible. If Pakistan remained defiant and pursued the old same policy that day is not far from a ‘state sponsor of terrorism‘ tag on it.

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GAURAV SURIYAL
GAURAV SURIYAL
I pen down articles on international affairs.
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