FATF issue and America's double standards

FATF issue and America's double standards

ISLAMABAD - Foreign Office of Pakistan has confirmed that in June Pakistan will be placed in the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This is indeed the watch list of the countries, where ‘banned militant outfits have allegedly been raising funds.’

The FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal revealed that “Pakistan will be assigned to the ‘grey list’ in June, once an action plan has been mutually negotiated.” This Paris based organization, ‘Financial Action Task Force’ commonly known as FATF is indeed an inter-governmental body.

Ever since its establishment in 1989, FATF has been stick to its objectives; Setting standards and promoting effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.’

As a policy making body, FATF, has been formulating its recommendations for combating money laundering and terror financing. Last set of recommendation of the FATF came in 2012. However, as per February 23, 2018 statement of the FATF, there are nine countries, placed on the grey list of the task force with the word that, Pakistan will be placed in it in June 2018.

Since there is a regular monitoring of finances for terror by FATF, thus countries names are added and removed from this list per their performance. Members of FATF regularly meet to review the performance of countries thrice a year.

After having gone through the last eighteen years history of FATF, one get the impression that, mostly the third world countries have been part of the watch lists of this inter-governmental organization. Above all, the countries with domestic instabilities, mostly caused by external factor and probably those of US aversions have constituted the list more often and prominently. Pakistan has been on its grey list earlier from 2012 to 2014.

One of the lacking on the part of FATF is that, it is quick in placing the countries on its various lists; but, it has never tried to seek a confirmation from the effected country, prior to blacklisting it. Further, it gets data from third party, the interest group(s).

Though ‘FATF relies on a strong global network of FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs), apart from its own 37 members, yet, the countries like US and its partners all over do have an influence over the organization to declare any country black, grey or white. In a way, it is an exploitative forum for the countries which some do not toe the US line of actions regionally or internationally.

In the case of Pakistan, the FATF decision to place it on its watch list (grey list) in June 2018 is prejudiced and highly influenced and manipulated by US and India. The militant organizations in Pakistan were banned on a number of occasions. Since Pakistan has been the worst sufferer of the terrorism and have lost over 70,000 lives ever since 2001, therefore blaming and listing it among the countries, financing terror or where terrorists organizations are collecting funds is a clear discrimination.

Yes, Pakistan could not arrest and punished people like Hafiz Saeed on the Indian and US demands, since there was no evidence against him. He was kept under arrest many a time, but courts set aside such decisions. Any actions beyond this would have been the violation basic fundamental rights and Constitution of Pakistan.

Pakistani track record of crackdown against terrorist organizations and combating the terrorism has been unmatched. It has not only dismantled the terrorist’s strongholds but also through intelligence based operations arrested and taken actions against the financers and abettors of terrorists and terrorist organizations. Following Operation Zarb e Azb, the country wide “Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad” is being carried out to indiscriminately eliminate the “residual/latent threat of terrorism”.

The root of terrorism and terrorists, finances being the major area is the main target of Operation Radd ul Fasaad. The world and particularly United States should have recognized the Pakistani contributions against terrorism. United Sates and NATO could not make any visible progress towards curbing militancy and militant bases in Afghanistan ever since 2001. Rather accusing Pakistan and placing it in the watch list of FATF, US should ask Afghan Government to dismantle the terrorists’ hideout in Afghanistan. Through these hideouts, terrorists attack Pakistani posts and even inside populations.

The double standard of US are quite prominent; it has tried to pressurise Pakistan on various fictional allegations. Upon refusal of Pakistan to submit in front of these baseless accusations, US along with India reached over to FATF for including Pakistan in the grey list of FATF. While this is being done on one hand, on the other, US military General and some other officials are trying to re-engage Pakistan. US Marine General Joseph Dunford and Commander US Central Commander have sought positive relationship with Pakistan.

At this critical time, Pakistan need to stabilize its domestic front through; curbing militancy and by bringing a broader consensus among the political parties on the issues of national interest. Pakistan needs to mindful of its interest driven friends, who betrayed it on many occasions. There is a need of reorientation of its foreign policy, through pro-active diplomacy and political engagement at regional and global level. Pakistan must also expose those international and regional forces, who contributed towards promotion of terrorism inside Pakistan.

Dr Mohammad Khan — The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.