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Editorial | FATF Must Acknowledge Pakistan’s Efforts To Counter Extremism

Even as proceedings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) went on in Paris today, Pakistani officials are understandably tight-lipped. There is much at stake here: even though Pakistan has avoided being put on the FATF black list, it remains an open question as to how long it will remain on the grey list.

While the objectives of the FATF with its 27-point programme are laudable ones, that organization is placed in a position of immense responsibility. We live in a world where regulations of the kind that FATF promotes are ever more necessary so as to counter money-laundering.

Given the important work that it does, it would be very tragic indeed if the FATF came to be associated with instruments of political pressure or the foreign policy objectives of one country or the other.

The work of the FATF would be best served by emphasizing its impartiality. One important way for the organization to do so would be to recognize Pakistan’s long and tough struggle against terrorism – including the financing of such activities. Pakistan’s contributions to the global war on terror are not limited only to the high price paid in terms of civilian and military casualties. It is also to be measured in terms of efforts to close off loopholes for money-laundering, be it for motives of corruption or terrorism.

Pakistan is engaged in an unprecedented level of action against proscribed organizations. The persistent prosecution of Hafiz Saeed, including recent developments in that context, are best understood as part of the country’s longstanding efforts for regional peace and stability.

The international community has, on occasion, remained unable to fully fathom the domestic political, social and economic costs of Pakistan’s contributions to combating terror and terror-financing.

As the FATF deliberates upon whether or not to remove Pakistan from its grey list, it would do well to consider the successes already achieved – not just generally in Pakistan’s war on terror, but more specifically in the country’s efforts to comply with the FATF agenda. Pakistan can go only so far on its own. Now would be a good time for the international community to make a special effort to see through the fog of war – and refuse to be confounded by bad-faith talking-points that have tried to portray Pakistan as an unwilling partner.


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Naya Daur