The anti-terror finance watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s decision to put Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ is a huge embarrassment for the country as it braces for a general election in July. Indeed, Pakistan’s misdeeds are catching up with it fast in the comity of nations and this is the time for India to exert relentless pressure to bring Islamabad to heel.
For India, which has long been exposing the Pakistan establishment’s complicity in training and arming recruits for terror and exporting them to Jammu and Kashmir for subversive activities, it is a vindication of its protestations.
That the FATF took the decision by consensus is a measure of the wide recognition of Pakistan’s role in aiding and abetting terror. If Islamabad fails to comply with rules of the grey list and a credible action plan is not adopted then the country runs the risk of being included in the black list of FATF which currently features Iran and North Korea.
With Pakistan putting up a facade of innocence while indulging in abetting terror, it is for India to keep up the pressure to declare Pakistan a rogue state and to have it included in FATF’s blacklist if it fails to mend its ways.
The Pakistan Government is, indeed, in a piquant situation with the civilian administration being held accountable for the misdeeds of the military establishment which uses the civilian shoulder to fire at India. For fear of the military, the government keeps mum about its sinister role as an abettor of terror.
The criteria on which the international body delivers are how sincerely the county combats money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
One black mark on Pakistan is that it has failed to choke the funding of militant groups, including the Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat ud Dawa and its affiliates. Howsoever much it may seek to whitewash it, the unrelenting terror activities of the notorious outfit can hardly be hidden.
Significantly, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday identified one of the killers of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari as a Pakistani belonging to the Lashkar e-Taiba, which is no different from Jamaat ud Dawa, showing that the terror outfit is pursuing its agenda of disruption and killings in India with characteristic ruthlessness.
The FATF decision to grey-list Pakistan came after that country submitted a comprehensive 26-point action plan to choke the funding of terror groups, including Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat ud Dawa and its affiliates over a period of 15 months, to avoid being blacklisted by it.
At the earlier plenary in Paris on February 18-23 at which Pakistan’s record was examined, India had, supported by its partners, put forward strong arguments against Pakistan’s lacklustre efforts to control financing of terror groups. The last-ditch efforts by Islamabad, including action against Hafiz Saeed, did not yield results and China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) finally agreed to put Pakistan in grey list.
The support of three members of FATF was necessary to override the decision against grey listing of Pakistan and it was only Turkey which extended assistance to its ally. FATF currently has 35 members and two regional organisations–European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.
The motion to put Pakistan on the grey list in February had been jointly moved by US and three key powers of Europe – UK, France and Germany. Earlier in November 2017, both the US and Russia had moved to put Pakistan in FATF on the grey list.
India must take it upon itself to get the international community to not only stop terror funding but also to stop training, arming and infiltrating terror recruits into India. For a country like India that has leverage in world capitals, it is shameful that we have allowed Pakistan to bully us for so long.