Unsatisfactory briefing | Pakistan Today

Unsatisfactory briefing

  • Parliament wants more about FATF

On Wednesday, the National Assembly’s Finance Committee received an in-camera briefing from officials representing the Finance Ministry, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the National Counter-terrorism Authority about Pakistan’s compliance with the Action Plan given by the Financial Anti-Terrorism Task Force, which is to decide in May whether Pakistan should be moved from the grey list on which it has been placed, to the black list, which would entail a wide range of sanctions. The committee was assured that the 27-point plan had been satisfactorily implemented, but the animosity of global and regional powers would undermine the country’s efforts. As a result of this, a final diplomatic effort would be required to ensure the support of friendly countries helping Pakistan avert black-listing.

The committee’s members were not satisfied with the information shared with them, being disappointed that they were not given a point-wise compliance report, but a generalised statement. It also does seem rather late in the day for such a report to be made, which would not leave the members enough time to provide useful input. It would seem that the government institutions which had got Pakistan into this situation in the first place, were trying to give the relevant parliamentary institution as little information as possible. It is symptomatic of these institutions that they hope diplomats will cover for them, and make the world accept their statements, something they do domestically by force.

If Parliament was to be consulted, it should have been an exercise to do more than fulfil formalities by holding an incomplete briefing and that too late. It was almost as if there was a wish to prevent the Parliament from interfering in the whole matter, except for applying pressure diplomatically. Diplomacy has not been able to prevent India from being the co-chair of the FATF Regional Group which will report on Pakistan’s compliance. At the same time, it is to be hoped that Pakistan’s diplomatic team will manage to convince its allies to make the efforts necessary to stop the country from being blacklisted.