Financial Action Task Force watchlist and Pakistan
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has embarked upon a diplomatic campaign to counter the US move to put Pakistan on the watch list of countries funding terrorism from the platform of FATF (Financial Action Task Force), an institution created apparently for arms-twisting of vulnerable and weaker members of international community.
According to reports, Pakistani envoys abroad have been directed to brief and lobby with host governments that are members of the FATF, sensitising them about measures adopted by Pakistan to prevent money laundering and dealings with terrorist outfits.
However, as acknowledged by government during briefing to Parliament, the move if succeeds will have disastrous consequences for Pakistan especially its economy. It is all the more worrying that the campaign against Pakistan initiated by the United States for understandable reasons also has support of the United Kingdom, France and some other countries.
Some politicians especially those belonging to the opposition, commentators and analysts are terming the possibility as failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy. But, in our view, Foreign Office has been left with little or no space to advance the country’s interests because of multiple vulnerabilities of Pakistan because of internal weaknesses and lack of government attention to deal with threats on external front.
The timing of the move clearly indicates what its motives are and what the sponsors want to achieve from it. The United States is putting enormous pressure on Pakistan to force its leadership to accept Washington’s terms for cooperation in the war against terror i.e. ignoring Pakistan’s own core interests.
Secondly, it is understandably aimed at penalising Pakistan for growing economic and military partnership with China and moves towards strengthening ties with Russian Federation.
The United States and India have demonstrated their avowed opposition to the gigantic project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has the potential to resolve economic woes of the country, freeing it from the exploitative clutches of some countries that always use the aid for arms-twisting. It is strange that Pakistan is being pressurised at a time when its armed forces have achieved remarkable successes in eliminating a number of terrorist outfits and need active collaboration and support of international community to wipe out the remnants of terrorism.
Punjab government has also taken comprehensive action against two charities, which were associated with JuD of Hafiz Saeed, despite the fact that these were busy in welfare activities and had nothing to do with terrorism.
On the other hand, it is an open secret that the United States, India and Afghanistan are openly funding, training and arming anti-Pakistan terrorist outfits that are engaged in activities to destabilise the country through different means.
Pakistan, no doubt, will have some setbacks if put on the watch list but it is time for our national leadership to sink internal differences and have brainstorming sessions on how to safeguard economic and strategic interests of the country.