Consequences for Pakistan grim with its inclusion in the FATF grey list

Pakistan has suffered yet another international humiliation, with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) informing it that the country would be placed on the ‘grey list’ for promoting terrorism. The FATF is an inter-governmental grouping which keeps track of nations that provide direct or indirect support to terror activities. Pakistan neatly fits in the definition, and few countries in the world will today dispute the assertion. The consequences for Islamabad are grim. Pakistan will hereafter find it difficult to raise money from international agencies, and the activities of terror outfits operating from its soil will come under greater international scrutiny.

Islamabad has stoutly denied the allegations — as it has been doing for years now without conviction. Interestingly, China remained neutral when the decision was taken to place its all-weather friend on the grey-list. This does not mean that Beijing has abandoned Pakistan but it certainly indicates that even China cannot persuade the international community beyond a point about Pakistan’s innocence. It can be argued that the decision will not greatly impact Pakistan; after all, it had been on the watch list earlier too — between 2012 and 2015 — and had managed to survive. Then, ironically, the same US which has taken a hard stand today, had bailed that country out economically. This time, Pakistan is hoping to tide over the crisis through Chinese help, which has been generous. Beijing has huge stakes in Pakistan, such as the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, and in its various stand-offs with India, it has an enthusiastic ally in Islamabad. Nonetheless, the very placement on the FATF list is a shame for Pakistan. Countries such as India and Afghanistan have reasons to be satisfied with the development since they have been the hardest hit by Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Under the Trump Administration, the US has taken an unusually strong stand against Pakistan’s behaviour, but we have to see if the steps taken will be sustained and whether they will bring the desired results.

Meanwhile, New Delhi should not expect others to fight its battle. Pakistan has of late stepped up its aggression along the Line of Control and the International Border, repeatedly violating the ceasefire agreement. There is no doubt that the Indian Armed Forces have responded adequately and even crossed the borders to strike. Unfortunately, these responses haven’t made Pakistan learn any lesson. Perhaps it’s time for India to escalate its response. At the same time, it must continue to work with the global community to keep proscribing Pakistan.