Pakistan’s Efforts Repudiated by FATF

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Mohsin Sheikh;

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has previously revived the status of Pakistan on its grey list for being not able to satisfy its parameters countering money laundering and terror financing. The members of FATF agreed to maintain Pakistan their Grey-List after the conclusion of a six-day FATF plenary meeting in Paris a few months back. Meanwhile, the Finance Division, in the former meeting during the preceding reporting period acknowledged the efforts made by Pakistan. They termed it as ‘significant progress’ in implementing 27-points of FATF action plan. However, Pakistan has made notable improvements addressing 14 out of 27 action items, with different levels of progress.
Pakistan has made numerous efforts in terms of legislation to meet the requirements of FATF. The Parliament of Pakistan has approved bills on money laundering, exchange of criminals with other countries, improving the financial systems of the country, and imposing more stringent punishments on the criminals. Similarly, all the federal, as well as provincial departments and ministries, have made significant progression in tightening standing statutes and legislating new ones where necessary, while updating/drafting rules and regulations to meet the requirements of FATF.
To my surprise, Pakistan has not made reasonable political and diplomatic efforts to handle FATF. Pakistan’s foreign office and the foreign minister could not satisfactorily defend the image of Pakistan with on grounds facts and efforts at international forums. The real efforts and sacrifices made by our Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), curbing terrorism and halting terror financing has not been painted internationally. We have suffered millions of dollars to our economy and lost thousands of LEAs and civilian lives to the menace of terrorism. Pakistani Armed forces have successfully carried out multiple operations such as Zarb-e-Azab, Rad-ul-Fasad, etc.
In addition, Pakistan has banned and taken action against all the declared terrorist organizations by the UN, in Pakistan. The LEAs have shut down their offices, camps, and whereabouts and have taken stern action against them. Many of them were killed, arrested, and prosecuted. The recent visit of international observers from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and FATF at the headquarters of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) in Muridke lauds the solemnity of Pakistan’s efforts to get out of FATF Grey-list.
On the contrary, Pakistan has made several attempts to seek help from The United States to help her exist the Grey-List of FATF. Unfortunately, the US has not been helpful to Pakistan due to her own geo-strategic ties and interests with India. Furthermore, India has been involved in covert as well as overt terrorism operations against Indian minorities, Kashmiri Muslims, and Pakistani Citizens. Certainly, India is turning into a hub of state-sponsored terrorism, that has started operating as an industry by the Indian government, military, and trained militants. Unfortunately, there has been no action taken by FATF.
Meanwhile, India is facing the biggest money laundering scams and terror financing charges than ever. Their government seems to be less interested in curbing heinous offenses like money laundering and terrorism financing. All it does is try to look good on books but practically they are a threat to the global economy as well as regional peace. However, China, Malaysia, and Turkey have supported Pakistan from being put into Black-List.
To recapitulate, the dual standard adopted by FATF is clearly highlighting deficiencies of Pakistan whilst repudiating her efforts to get out of Grey-List. Although Pakistan has taken multiple sincere attempts including articulation of policies and coordination, legislation, preventive measures, and so on and so forth, with iron hands, yet to be recognized. Nevertheless, no action has been taken against India. Apparently, the countries that now enjoy close ties with the US are a favorite child of the International Community and can do anything unquestioned.

The author is a lawyer, human rights activist, adjunct faculty member of University of the Punjab and Legal Counsel Blackstone School of Law and Business.