Pakistan still in ‘Grey List’, pressure on economy

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By Senator Rehman Malik

Pakistan is getting consistent blows from inimical International pro-Indian groups, the likes of FATF, for instance, if one can say. Hybrid war model has been launched against Pakistan as a joint venture of USA & India, which is being used to shatter our economy and derail our national progress. The retention of Pakistan in the grey list is a big jolt to its already fragile economy. Moreover, it has exposed our poor foreign policy and the miserable failure of our so-called backchannel diplomacy with India and the USA.

Some of the former diplomats who suggested such back door channels owe an explanation. They need to tell what made them believe in compiling a report to assure the government and the institutions that re-election of Narendra Modi would benefit Pakistan in any way. Let’s not talk about what his re-election meant for the people of Kashmir. One cannot stand the stupidity of such analysts.

Indian NSA Mr Dovel created this deceptive mode and disinformation. This “Modi friendly” false alarm was deliberately fed through the back channels to the Pak authorities/ MOFA to keep Pakistan on the BJP side and to avoid any moral support to the Indian National Congress. India’s Pro-Modi Raw played three tricks in which our “backchannel operators” on Pak expense were used and the main members still have their relatives in India and their think tank getting huge funds & running these intuitions at the cost of national humiliation.

This is the reason behind Pakistan expecting neither the Kashmir blow in the form of change of status nor the shocking jerk of continuity of being on the grey list by FATF. In fact, the same backchannels had misinformed the government that the USA would get Pakistan out of FATF. Be thankful to such backchannel experts that Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was confidently seen saying that Pakistan would be out of the grey list. It is the public’s right to ask MOFA whether it will make the name of these back channels public and the funds which their institutions received from the public exchequer.

The FATF decision of retaining Pakistan in the grey list shows total disrespect to the country which has sacrificed 70,000 lives in the “War on Terror”. The FATF’s decision is highly condemnable. Factually all the Jihadi organisations in question by FATF are the by-products of the War on Terror that Pakistan fought side by side with the US. If we go back, then the history of these organisations’ growth lies in the American proxy war against the USSR in Afghanistan. Pakistan decided to fight these organisations under my orders when I was Interior Minister for the PPP.

I disagree with the government’s view that they saved Pakistan from being blacklisted. The government has miserably failed to get Pakistan out of the grey list, which will cause an unmanageable balance of payment situation. And the economy will dwindle further. Instead of remaining in the state of denial, the government must accept its failure and formulate a workable strategy to get Pakistan out of the grey list in February 2020 by not taking the services of the same failed team of the said “back door channel” in USA & India.

I wish the government had informed the world that money laundering was not done by Pakistan but by those counties who created and supported the Jihadi organisations for their ulterior motives to keep the peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan disturbed. The creation and funding of Jihadi outfits came from the USA and support from the wealthy Saudis and other business tycoons from the Middle East.

FATF is joint effort of USA and India to undermine Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism and stabilise its economy. Pakistan should have demanded testimony from Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton in Congress regarding who had launched these Jehadis. They had already made this frank confession which goes in favour of Pakistan & how they were funded & trained. The record of this confession by Hilary is, in fact, the right defence for Pakistan and it is strange to note that the government failed to put forth these important hard facts.

The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) blacklist is a list made for Non- Cooperative Countries or territories that are found to be none cooperative in dealing with the money laundering or terrorist financing while Pakistan has been fighting fierce war against terrorism since decades with numerous sacrifices in terms of loss of lives and irreparable damage to its basic infrastructure and economy in addition our PPP govt passed the money laundering law as per the advice of UNGA.

In November 2017, the International Cooperation Review Group in Argentina adopted a resolution, calling attention to Pakistan’s support to the Lashkar-i-Taiba, Jaish-i- Mohammad and affiliated groups like Jamaat ud Dawa whereas they all are proscribed and under scrutiny in Pakistan. Yet, Pakistan was not taken out of the grey list. On the other hand, India lobbied against Pakistan as it sent a secretary-level delegation to Moscow on 31st January 2018 not to support Pakistan. During his visits to Gulf countries and other countries across the world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked them not to help Pakistan at the FATF.

India had charged Pakistan with failing to take concrete action against Hafiz Saeed, Maula Masood Azhar and other UN-designated terrorists, pointing out that its anti-terror law still remains out of sync with standards set by the international body. Pakistan was finally placed on FATF’s ‘grey list’ in June 2018 after India made attempts to politicise the proceedings in FATF against Pakistan. FATF gave Pakistan a 15-month deadline to implement its 27-point action plan which recently ended in September. Now in October 2019 from 13th–18th, during the 6 six days FATF meeting held in Paris decision was to be taken whether Pakistan would be cleared from all charges, blacklisted or it would remain on the grey list.

The meeting was attended by representatives from 205 countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations, the World Bank and other organisations. However, China, Turkey and Malaysia had reportedly supported Pakistan at the FAFT meeting as a country needs the support of at least three other countries to avoid being blacklisted. As the outcome of the meeting, it was decided that Pakistan will remain in the “grey list” after it was given a fresh deadline of February 2020 to act against terror funding. Pakistan got four months’ time after it was warned of action by the FATF if it fails to complete its full action plan. In the said meeting, Pakistan produced four different reports, with imperial evidence of its compliance against terrorist organisations and money launderers in the country. Pakistani authorities upon implementing FATF’s recommendations confiscated all 150 properties of JuD and where 36 terrorist financing cases were registered against trustees as well.

The operations revealed details of properties and claims link to JuD/FIF (properties 15, 6 cases), Al-Anfaal Trust, Lahore (properties 72, 15 cases), Al Dawat-ul-Irshad, Pakistan (10 properties, 5 cases, Al-Hamad Trust, Lahore/Faisalabad (04 properties, 2 cases), Mosques & Welfare Trust (4 properties/cases, Al Madina Foundation, Lahore (2/2 properties/cases, Maaz Bin Jabal Educational Trust, (2 property/case) and Idara-i-Khidmat-i-Khalq (42/01 cases/properties). Pakistani authorities recovered some Rs1.2 billion linked to operators of Daesh, TTP, AQ, JuD, JeM, LeT, TTA, TTP, etc and filed cases against them.

The reports also revealed that in around more than 2.3 million combing operations conducted under the National Action Plan, Pakistan convicted 62 persons and filed over 750 cases against operators of AQ, JUA, SSP, JeM, LeJ, ASWJ, FIF, JuD and Daesh in past eighteen months under terror financing charges by putting top leadership of FIF, JuD and JeM in jails.Despite all this, the FATF overlooked Pakistan’s efforts and gave it another warning and extension instead.

The sheer discriminatory decision came after Pakistan produced substantial evidences against some eight terror groups that were funding terrorists in Pakistan which have roots in Pakistan but are operating from fifteen countries, including the United States, India, China, United Kingdom and some European nations. Pakistan tried to seek help from FATF to look into this matter to control terrorist organisations’ financing from different countries to which FATF turned blind eye and deaf ear as the International master is under the influence of India. We as country have failed in our diplomatic and backdoor channels and I think the leading ministry in this matter should have been the ministry of Interior and not the Finance.

Pakistan requested for FATF’s cooperation on the terror groups namely TTP, LeJ, JuA, Harakat-ul-Ansar (HuA), Daesh, Al-Qaeda (AQ), Emarat-e-Islamia, Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat (TTS), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Hamas-linked NPO, International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO), Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), Zakat House Kuwait and Local NPOs/Eid Bin Muhammad Charity. Some organisations and their operators who are facing charges of funding terrorism were sending money by a convicted terrorist from the UK through the bank channel in Pakistan. FATF turned down Pakistan’s request for cooperation rather asked it to show significant and sustainable progress with a full range of its action plan by the next deadline; otherwise, the watchdog will blacklist its name. In our response, we should be given the list of those foreign diplomats who were declared as persona non grata caught red-handed distributing funds to the Jihadi organisations in Pakistan.

Not only this but earlier this year on 15th February, I had written a letter to the President of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Marshall Billingslea, pleading him to take action against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for protecting international fugitives who have Red warrants against them like Madhav Patel and Nirav Modi. He is openly supporting and funding the terrorist organisations through RAW which is evident from the arrest of Indian agent Kulbhushan Yadav who was sent to Pakistan to carry out terrorist operations in the country duly sponsored by India. In light of these facts, I appealed to the President to investigate the matters of terrorist financing, as well as the protection of Interpol, wanted money launderers by the Modi government. I was expecting a satisfactory reply from the office of the President which I got right after 3 days on 18th February but to my surprise, the FATF clearly withheld my request rather suggesting me to contact the appropriate authorities.

There will be large scale efforts to get Pakistan blacklisted Pakistan, and even this preset grey list means our banking system will be regarded as having poor controls over AML and CFT standards. Expatriates will find it difficult to send remittances freely, and traders’ cost of business will increase because our banks will face higher scrutiny in international payments and foreign banks might not even do business with Pakistani banks. The government, too, will face problems in raising funds from global markets if we are placed on the blacklist.

In the present situation being on the grey list, the IMF may hold its loan after forcing the government to further devalue rupee and price hike in the country as per its present plan.

(The writer is Former Interior Minister of Pakistan, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Chairman of Think Tank “Global Eye”. He can be reached at: rmalik1212@gmail.com, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik)