News Analysis |
The Financial Action Task Force (FATC) member states failed to reach a consensus in Tuesday’s meeting to put Pakistan on the global terror financing ‘watch list’.
The US was seeking to put Pakistan on a list of countries that financially aid terrorism and presented a resolution to place Pakistan on the so called-grey list.
The US and UK had joined hands to put forward the motion against Pakistan and also persuaded Germany and France which co-sponsored the move. But, it is believed that China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and other GCC countries opposed the motion against Pakistan after relentless diplomatic efforts from the country.
The Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted at midnight to thank friends of Pakistan that helped Pakistan avoid major embarrassment.
Our efforts paid,FATF Paris 20Feb meeting conclusion on US led motion to put Pakistan on watch list
-No consensus for nominating Pakistan
-proposing 3months pause &asking APG for another report to b considered in June الحمداللہ
Grateful to friends who helped
— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) February 20, 2018
Pakistan has managed to ward off the scare of being put on the terrorist financing list for at least three months. It can be termed a major development, amid Pakistan’s relentless efforts to rescue the US bid to punish Pakistan for non-compliance with its demands of taking adequate measures to shun off global anti-money laundering and terror financing requirements [to facilitate selected terrorist groups].
Dunya news anchorperson and editor strategic affairs, Dr. Moeed Pirzaada also acknowledged the frantic diplomatic efforts of Pakistan in his tweet, and appreciated the efforts of foreign office and COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Congratulations! to Khawaja Asif, his team, Foreign Office and COAS, Gen. Bajwa, for untiring efforts to defeat the Indian plan at FATF, Well Done! But remember Modi will come back with a vengeance @KhawajaMAsif
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) February 20, 2018
Pakistan must be cautious with its future strategy to avoid any future embarrassment.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman quickly responded to the whole scenario with the following tweet.
This is the normal process and time span given for reprieve warning. We all want Pakistan to come out of watch list nominations, but so far there’s no indication at all that the voting line up will change in 3 months. Please don’t become complacent and ignore the danger. #FATF https://t.co/JPFroLkNnu
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) February 20, 2018
Pakistan will have to make immense efforts in coming months to convince America and UK to avoid this unfortunate situation after three months.
Late JUD move paid off
It also reflects that Pakistan’s late move to amend the anti-terrorism law proved fruitful along with the efforts of diplomats to regain the trust of the international community. Last week, Pakistan had blacklisted charities linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) leader Hafiz Saeed.
Knowing the huge economic repercussions of this move, Pakistan amended a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 to enable the authorities to move against individuals and organizations prescribed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The federal government had issued the notification to seize all the moveable and immovable assets of the organizations named in the UNSC sanctions list. Punjab government also moved swiftly to seize the assets and funds belonging to Hafiz Saeed’s Jamat ud Dawa (JUD) and its welfare wing the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).
Pakistan Must Stay Wary of Indian Threat
Analysts and commentators had thought it a certainty until a welcome decision brought joy for the Pakistani diplomats and foreign office which was indulged in last-ditch effort to halt this unfavorable decision.
Though Pakistan is scrambling to overcome the highlighted deficiencies, it is still to fulfill the US demands. Pakistan had submitted the report containing the details of its actions to address the flaws and steps taken so far to curb terrorism financing, but the US had submitted its motion before the Pakistan report could be discussed in Paris.
Pakistan must utilize the reprieve of three months to satisfy the concerns of the stakeholders involved. Furthermore, it must continue its diplomatic engagements with member countries to dismantle Indian efforts to hurt Pakistan economically.
Need to safeguard Economic Interests
Given Pakistan’s economic difficulties, which may not be dealt with in the near future, it must safeguard its interests if it is to protect its economy from free fall, especially given its dependence on external institutions for financing needs.
If put on the grey list, it will restrict the financial aid to the country. Moreover, Pakistan will be prevented from exporting certain goods, which could widen the current account deficit.
Pakistan’s booming banking industry could get a hit as the decision could heighten the risk profile of the country negatively affecting financial transactions with Pakistani banks. Foreign banks may also pull over amid pressure from international regulators to guard off against the fear of terror financing.