Time to turn a new leaf
When Pakistan became part of the US led War on Terror perhaps the leadership of the former at the time did not anticipate how badly it would go for the latter. Going beyond that- given our geography- it was a losing battle to begin with. A horrifying wave of domestic terrorism is often attributed to our participation in this war. With a little introspection however it becomes clear that some of our internal policies have also contributed to this reality.
Pakistan has been unable to shake off its regional bad boy image. This is apparent considering how hard we have tried to internationalise the issue of Kashmir but the demand to ‘do more’ at home persists and has in fact been amplified since the recent spat with our neighbour. Even after highlighting Indian atrocities at various forums the international community stays clear of speaking out against them. With the FATF hanging above us like the sword of Domocles for over a year we have Finance Minister Asad Umar who has just requested that India be removed from the body reviewing Pakistan’s progress on implementation of an action plan. If India’s inclusion is new we ought to be worried as it indicates towards a negative outcome for Pakistan. If India has been there from the start and we were simply unaware of it then it is a belated objection, which will also raise questions about our intent to fulfill FATF’s list of conditions, which keeps getting longer. FATF in its latest addition to that list wants Pakistan’s national risk assessment on terror financing be revised, FBR curb currency smuggling and interagency cooperation at the federal and provincial level be implemented. CENTCOM chief Joseph Votel is impressed with Pakistan’s role in maintaining peace in the region but views militants operating out of Pakistan a threat to regional peace. All this and more has built a perception we cannot eliminate easily or change overnight. After years of inaction, forceful result-oriented action against proscribed organistaions is required. Short of that we will be unable to build up a new acceptable narrative.