Pakistan on FATF ‘watch list’ for terror funding

New Delhi/ Paris : The decision to include Pakistan in the ‘Watch List’ has been taken in the ‘Financial Action Task Force’ (FATF) meeting held in Paris. This comes as a major shock for Pakistan. Importantly, China an ally of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, acting on behalf of the ‘GCC’ have shocked Pakistan, voting in favour of the decision. The inclusion of Pakistan in the ‘Watch List’ is going to aggravate the difficulties for the Pakistani economy, which is already in doldrums.

Pakistan-on-FATFThe meeting of FATF, illegal money transfers and terror ‘funding’ watchdog, was held in Paris. The United States had moved a resolution for inclusion of Pakistan in the ‘Watch List’, for funding terrorists, a few days before the meeting. Britain, France and Germany had supported the resolution. There were reports that India was to provide foolproof evidences in the matter. This increased the pressure on Pakistan tremendously.

Pakistan had made efforts for avoiding the inclusion in the ‘Watch List’ and to avoid the resolution against itself. There were reports that the action against Pakistan was deferred by three months because of opposition from Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja had thanked the friendly nations for thwarting the efforts of including Pakistan in this ‘Grey’ list. The United States, however, had given a caustic reaction to it. ‘The final decision in the FATF meet is still not made. It is very early for Pakistan to celebrate. It should wait till the decision is made.’

Finally, the decision to include Pakistan in the ‘Watch List’, for terror funding, has been taken by the ‘FATF’. FATF has 37 member countries in total. Out of these 36 voted in favour of the resolution. Pakistan’s allies China and Saudi Arabia also voted in favour of the resolution. This is considered to be a major shock to Pakistan. Only Turkey supported Pakistan by voting against the resolution. Saudi voted on behalf of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Therefore, it is clear that the council members such as  United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman have also taken an anti-Pakistan stand.

The experts are predicting a tough time for Pakistan with this inclusion in the ‘Grey List’ of the ‘FATF’. With this the foreign investors will restrict their access. There will not be any new foreign investments; there is a possibility that even the current investors also will turn their backs. As the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the other financial institutions will stop lending to Pakistan which will add to the woes of the already bankrupt economy of Pakistan,  is believed.

Pakistan had started a drama of acting against Hafiz Saeed and his organisations, after the United States moved the resolution for its inclusion in the watchlist of ‘FATF’. But, some experts warned that an action against these organisations will cause instability in Pakistan.

Some extremist leaders had held a few cities, including Islamabad, hostage with hardly about two thousand supporters. Pakistan withdrew from further action with the fears of more severe repercussions. Pakistan media reported that the action was restrained by the Pakistan Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Pakistani experts are already saying that as Pakistan is not taking any punitive actions against the terrorists, it has been left isolated and if the situation does not change there is a likelihood of more difficult times in the future.

The US President upset with Pakistan

The White House has given a reaction that US President Donald Trump is not satisfied with the action that Pakistan is taking against terrorists. Relations between the United States and Pakistan  have become clear. It is the first time that the United States is holding Pakistan responsible for its deeds, said, Raj Shah, the White House Deputy Press Secretary.

President Trump had criticised Pakistan for betraying the United States in the beginning of this year. He had also warned that Pakistan shout initiate action against terrorists otherwise the United States will take over. The United States have stopped all the military and financial aid, being given to Pakistan for co-operating against terrorism. Even after this there was no action from Pakistan against the terrorists. On the contrary, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan announced to cut ties with the United States.

Against this backdrop, the United States proposed inclusion of Pakistan in the ‘Watch List’ of ‘FATF’. These reactions from the United States have been received after the proposal was approved. It is clear from the United States reactions that it will be taking sterner actions against Pakistan in the future.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry has said that the relations between the two countries have been spoilt because of the unilateral decisions taken by the United States last year. Also, the Foreign Ministry has reacted that the inclusion in the ‘Watch List’ by ‘FATF’ is also is a cause of concern.