A setback to Pakistan
China which is financing more than $50 billion of infrastructure projects across Pakistan, removed its earlier objection to the move to put Pakistan on the grey list.
China decided against backing Pakistan because it did not want” to lose face by supporting a move that’s doomed to fail”. Diplomatic experts say-China informed Islamabad that they are opting out , when FATF took up the move to include it in the grey list on Feb. 22. Pakistan has now practically and technically three months pause to act against terror organisations operating from its soil to convince FATF. Pakistan is being placed on global terrorist financing watch list from June onwards that would endanger its handful of remaining banking links to outside world causing financial pain to the economy when the general election looms Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has also removed their objections and now only Turkey is backing Pakistan.
Countries are put on FATF’s grey list for not doing enough to combat money laundering and terror funding. United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany have co-nominated Pakistan for inclusion in the Grey list.
Pakistan is trying its level best to seek head off from likely inclusion on the grey list of Financial Action Task Force by amending anti-terrorism laws and taking over organisations controlled by Jamat –Ul- Dhawa and other terror groups. Ahead of FATF meet on Friday, Pakistan changed its laws to proscribe the terror entities identified by UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan has since frozen and taken over assets of terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed and related charity Falah-e -Insaniyat foundation
There are concerns that Pakistan’s nearly $300 billion economy could lose steam if it ends up on the watch list, from which it was removed in 2015 after three years. Prime Minister Abbasi and his officials are trying for economic expansion to reach at 6% this fiscal year to avert slow down in the run up for the ensuing elections. The experts feel being placed on watch list brings extra scrutiny from the regulators and financial institutions that can chill trade and investment.
Law experts say being put back on the grey list would heighten Pakistan’s risk profile and most financial institutions would be wary of transacting with Pakistani banks and companies. All others may choose to avoid Pakistan altogether viewing the legal risks associated with doing business there.
Decline in foreign transactions and drop in foreign currency inflows would further widen the Pakistan’s large current account deficit. Pakistan’s stock index reversed earlier gains and fell 0. 6% at the close in Karachi on Friday.
Trump administration withholding aid is one of several actions the U. S. has been considering. US State department openly mulled over stripping Pakistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally. Analysts say the U. S. could also increase drone strikes targeting militants on Pakistani territory.
The US is very unlikely to revoke the ban imposed on financial aid to Pakistan. So far there is no open commitment by Pakistan of reining in the terrorist groups active in Afghanistan. Commentators ask why Haqqani cannot be Osamized. Osama was eliminated because at the end of the day Pakistan army succumbed to big moneys. That story can be replicated to Haqqani group also if conditions favour.
It remains unclear how the Pakistan military can be pushed by the US to bring these groups over-ground, give the US control of its nuclear power and help bring about a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, while at the same time the US wants to cut military aid to Pakistan and threatens to downgrade its allied status to the US.
The drawback of such an approach is that if those policies are only meant as options, incentives or threats, then maybe nothing will actually change and things will only get worse. Pakistan is advised by US friendly experts to have a careful analysis of all the elements operating in this situation, while trying to understand what is missing moving forward and firmly charter a policy of give and take with US administration in its national interest.
In Afganistan-centric South Asia strategy unveiled by President Donald Trump Pakistan has been put on notice for its failure to act decisively against terrorism and terror groups operating on its soil.
Pakistan’s temper tantrums and petulance responses will not convince the US and other nations. Pakistan has to take a hard look at options. She has to shutdown all the terror networks operating from her soil including Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar, Jaish, Haqqani network and all other groups.
Pakistan has to take a hard look at options. Afghan Government suspects, the newly surging IS in Khorasan and terrorist bombing are getting support from Pakistan and are allowed free operations from its soil, raise funds, march in raucous rallies and openly support terror export to other countries with the help of handlers in Pakistan establishment.
US administration has seen only modest progress in terms of Pakistan’s acknowledgment of US concerns. White house Deputy Press Secretary recently said President Trump is not satisfied with the progress.
US administration and security experts want Pakistan to act and ask Pakistan to rein in Haqqani net work and all other terror groups operating from its soil against Afganistan. Pakistan has to gain a lot by partnering with US and If she wishes to earn goodwill of the International Community. She has to firmly discontinue harbouring and nurturing criminals and terrorists in its backyard.
Courtesy: With permission reproduced from www.dailyexcelsior.com