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FATF vote and Pakistan’s options

So the word is out. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the UN, on the urging of US, lobbying of India, has finally committed to place Pakistan on its grey list again from June 2018.

Pakistan has been on the list from 2012-15 previously as well. During that time the country successfully tapped funds from the IMF, but US wasn’t so openly hostile back then.

This time easy money would be improbable. Inclusion in the grey list will entail difficult access to cheap money from the international market.

Multilateral lenders like IMF/World Bank, heavily influenced by the US and India, would hamstring Pakistan, which is chronically short of investment. Our banking sector will come under strain to meet the stringent money laundering requirements.

This is bound to hurt Pakistan’s debt payments, which are expected to spike to 5 Billion USD in 2022, thanks to huge trade surplus of China and CPEC paybacks.

Pakistan was taken off the list in 2015 because of the verifiable work put in to merit removal. What Pakistan did wrong this time is a mystery, besides antagonizing US and India both.

Money laundering and terror financing are areas that have been debated in Pakistan for a long time now.

Karachi Operation couldn’t have succeeded without drying out this terrorist funding lifeline. I doubt any other country could have done what Pakistan managed to do for its people, related to terror financing.

What Pakistan was expected to do was to stop “terror financing of groups operating against US interests in the region”.

Pakistan has consistently stated that it is by no means allowing terror groups to use its territory.

US and India don’t buy this argument, naturally so, considering Pakistan has very little global standing as it has very little to offer the powers to be.

Pakistan’s financial advisor Miftah Ismail called this inclusion in FATF list “politically motivated”.

I tend to agree.

Especially considering Pakistan’s FATF mutual assessment, which is the stage wise process of assessing met targets, was still not complete before this session.

The answer lies in President Trump’s tweet days before FATF session when he mentioned that he is “not satisfied” with steps taken by Pakistan.

This makes his associate India very happy. He probably called the state department to dial the pain on Pakistan

What makes the matter so fishy is that there are reports that US delegate rushed to quiet down the Gulf Coop Council delegate, when they tried to object to nomination of Pakistan.

So much for guardians of Ummah! China dropped support for Pakistan on quid pro quo of getting vice chairmanship of this forum, with a bump up by India.

Only Turkey stood firm. Malaysia the only other Muslim country also voted against, and we have been feting Mr.Mahathir as a God.

India is ecstatic.

Their internet trolls’ are having a field day.

Pakistan’s alleged support to “terrorists” which is inimical to US interests with India and Afghanistan, respectively has been punished, they say.

Pakistan added to its diplomatic nightmare by giving unilateral breakout to China without written agreements from the country to mitigate the blow-back. Russia secured its Eastern Flank without the extra baggage of supported Pakistan diplomatically.

We risked alienated Iran, our neighbor by sending troops to Saudi Arabia, without their firm commitments to support Pakistan.

Even UK that hosts millions of Pakistani origin diaspora co-sponsored the resolution.

Global nobodies like Hong Kong and Malaysia didn’t support Pakistan.

This should be an eye opener for Pakistan Government to be very selfish in International relationship building.

None of the 35 FATF member states supported Pakistan’s point of view besides China, GCC and Turkey, who did so, initially.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, , UK, USA were all against till the very end.

A cursory look at FATF member states give an impression of a Whiteman’s club, thekind that has been spoilt rotten over centuries of excess and luxury at the expense of bullying the brown and black man.

The hypocrisy is sickening.

While US conduct war and regime changes in vulnerable countries to get richer, the rest of the white club sublets its sovereignty, for US’s good will.

India is trying to gate crash into this white club, by dangling its huge middle class market — this wouldn’t last for long if it keeps trying to undermine its neighbours.

It’s about time Pakistan stops giving unilateral concessions to countries in trade and diplomacy without written agreements on diplomatic support. Every bullet imported should have rider clauses that require the country of origin to support Pakistan’s stance globally.

Billions of dollars in imports by Pakistan could have secured better allies.

Now Foreign Office would be licking its wounds. Time to get back to the drawing board and list down the countries that can be brought into Pakistan’s diplomatic net.

This is after Pakistan bent over backwards since the 50s to please the white master, for a few war toys.

Pakistan’s strategic interests were never aligned with US. Kashmir, the corner stone of Pakistan’s prestige, was never US’s priority.

Pakistan only bought time from the US by engaging in disastrous pro-US military actions that alienated our neighborhood and made Pakistan the pariah in the world.

Billions of dollars of lost to the economy in bombings, civil unrest, terror, killings, guns and drugs in the recent war on terror and anti-Sovietcampaign inside Afghanistan.

Now USA wants Pakistan to accept Indian hegemony, abandon our doctrine of India being an existential threat, not to give a breakout to China from its encirclement in the far east, eliminate tactical nuclear warheads, abandon Kashmir for which four wars have been fought, just because US needs India at its side.

I am a proponent of the doctrine that says ‘A stick and a kind word goes farther than just a kind word’.

Pakistan does need whatever stick it has, but should use it sparingly, so as not to alienate annoying bystanders.

In the meantime, give the foreign office a free hand to aggressively pursue iron clad assurances from potential allies, while leveraging Pakistan’s military, manpower and market resource.

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