Marginalizing Pakistan

An extra-ordinary meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, has begun in Paris the capital city of France on Monday. The week-long conference being attended by hundreds of delegations from across the globe including United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other institutions will deliberate upon the most pressing issues confronted by the world at large.

The global body, founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, is meeting at a crucial time when efforts are being made to put Pakistan on a watch-list of countries having failed to combat terrorist financing. Pertinently, the US along with its European allies has put forward a motion to put Pakistan in the grey list.  According to reports the US authorities have been persuading France and Germany to co-sponsor the motion that will have far reaching consequences on Pakistan’s economy.

Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal while terming the move as a political act expressed his hopes that the international community will not take any measure that will in any way impede the war against terrorism. He noted that the West wants to pressurise Pakistan to achieve certain objectives, because of which it is pushing to place the country on the FATF watch list. Voicing his serious concerns Iqbal said that such pressure tactics would negatively impact Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terrorism.

Besides some western countries Pakistan’s arch rival [India] is also hectically engaged to bring Pakistan under pressure to give weightage to its much touted diplomatic offensive aimed at isolating Pakistan at international level. The American move to put Pakistan on FAFT watch-list equally suits to Indian government that has already been struggling hard to keep Pakistan in the dock.

So far as Pakistan’s role in combating terrorism is concerned, it is quite unfortunate that international community and particularly the US has been questioning the sincerity of the country that has been worst victim of terror for last several years. Pakistan had played an important role to eradicate militancy and terrorism from the region. Pakistan’s bold initiatives and indefatigable efforts to counter terrorism at domestic and regional level go unheard and unnoticed at international level. Needless to say that Pakistan army launched full fledged military offense under operation Zarb-e-Azb to destroy the terrorist sanctuaries in federally administered tribal belts. In a bid to tighten the nose around the miscreants, operation Raddul Fassad was launched under the National Action Plan to through out the country.

Recently Pakistan issued a special ordinance according to which all individuals or organizations designated as a terrorist by the United Nations will be considered as a terrorist in Pakistan. The ordinance empowers security establishment to seal offices of the banned groups. Following the development authorities are said to have taken control of many offices of the UN designated terrorist groups in Punjab and other parts of the country.

But despite doing all that the US has been critical of Pakistan’s policies. On one hand Pakistani government has been taking all necessary measures to fulfill the requirements of international community while on the other efforts are being made to marginalize the country that has played a decisive role in the region so far as the counter terrorism efforts are concerned.

One thing that international community should bear in mind is that any attempt to single out Pakistan at this crucial juncture would not only have far reaching consequences on Pakistan but it will equally and adversely affect the global campaign against terrorism. It is hoped that the international community, as the interior minister had said, will not take any such measures that will impede the war against terrorism.

Since war against terrorism is a long battle; a pragmatic approach on the part of international community is needed to win this war. Blaming one another and holding a particular party responsible for the “collective failure” won’t really serve the purpose. Rather than getting entangled in this worthless debate the US should take a holistic review of the policies that eventually led to its failure in the region. Making Pakistan a scapegoat for its flawed and failed policy and putting it on FATF watch-list won’t really serve the purpose. On the contrary, any lopsided or punitive action against Pakistan will be counter productive that will further complicate the situation in the region.

About Arif Qureshi

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