- Terrorists have to be deprived of financial support
No Pakistani administration likes the country to be put on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). But each one has stopped short of taking appropriate measures to stem money laundering and terror financing. Early this year a Pakistani delegation had apprised the FATF of steps Islamabad had taken in the desired direction. These were considered unsatisfactory and the country put on the list in June.
In July the National Security Committee (NSC) made a high-level political commitment to combating terrorism financing and approved the new action plan submitted by the government to FATF. In August, soon after being appointed finance minister, Asad Umar told the Senate that FATF had given Pakistan 15 months to comply with its requirements. The minister said the inter-governmental organisation had identified 27 deficiencies in Pakistan’s financial system, including currency smuggling, hawala and terror financing of proscribed organisations. He promised in the house that the government would be addressing all the objections raised not only to satisfy the international community but also because it was in Pakistan’s own interest to get rid of terrorism financing.
On Friday the delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), an arm of the FATF, made damaging observations about Pakistan’s performance vis-a-vis blocking the terrorist funding. It presented a long list of deficiencies .The APG concluded that with this pace Pakistan was unlikely to get out of the grey list.
During the last few years confidence has grown among certain quarters that they can turn a blind eye to the activities of certain “banned groups” as they receive donations and continue violent activities under different names. Some of these groups are even being mainstreamed to provide them political legitimacy. The false sense of immunity should have been shattered after close allies China and Saudi Arabia sided with FATF members who voted to grey list Pakistan. Keeping the eyes closed to ground realities will further isolate the country and might even bring international sanctions. This will be against the interests of the common people who want peace and stability in Pakistan and friendly relations with the countries in the region.