Lost in the grey…
Despite Pakistan’s best efforts, the country has been formally placed on the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after the conclusion of its recent joint plenary meeting.
The move comes almost four months after it was decided to place Pakistan on the terror-financing watch list at the FATF plenary, held in Paris. The FATF issued a statement on 29 June, which includes a list of ten objectives that Pakistan needs to accomplish in order for its action plan to be approved.
What sort of an impact this move will have on the already floundering economy will be revealed in the coming months. A decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI), as well as an increase in difficulty in borrowing money from international banks and markets, will only add to the poor reputation of the country in the eyes of the major international players.
Pakistan’s worsening relationship with America is also partly to blame for the situation that we currently find ourselves in. Pakistan has found itself in the crosshairs of the Trump administration ever since his arrival in 2016. The president has castigated the country publicly and has stopped all military and economic aid, stating that Pakistan first has to control the various militant organisations that function in and around its border areas, including the Haqqani network.
Banned organisations are freely campaigning for the upcoming elections
The policy of mainstreaming proscribed organisations such as the Ahmed Ludhianwi led Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and the Milli Muslim League, which is led by Hafiz Saeed (who has been labelled a terrorist by the UN), need to be thoroughly revised. These banned organisations are freely campaigning for the upcoming elections and make a mockery of the state’s resolve to eradicate terrorism from its soil. In addition to the above, these organizations peddle their extremist agenda to the public and inflame sectarian tensions in an already hostile environment. Instead of acting weak and powerless in the face of blatant violations of the law, the authorities should forcefully implement the already existing legislation.
This “grey-listing” of Pakistan comes at a time when the election campaign is in full swing inside the country and apart from a couple of editorials written in local newspapers, no major debate has taken place regarding how we reached this lowpoint.
With just under three weeks remaining in the elections, the major political parties of the country have remained conspicuously silent on the issue of radicalisation and terrorism. We have witnessed and suffered from the worst kind of terrorism for the past two decades and the least our political leaders can do is to start a debate on our foreign policy failures and to figure out how we reached this point of international isolation, instead of hurling accusations at each other.
There is an acute need to come up with meaningful policies to reduce the extremist mindset prevalent in the society. The prevalence of hate speech on the mainstream and social media needs to be addressed, along with reforming the outdated educational curricula, which teaches hate towards the religious minorities and creates a sense of insecurity, nurturing self-doubt instead of inculcating the youth with tolerant and pluralistic values. The sooner we collectively realise that our narrative is being ignored internationally and work on our deficiencies, the better; because till then we will continue to face such embarrassments globally.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.