By Senator Rehman Malik
After 9/11 the world came very heavy on money laundering and USA activated UNO to bring in international money laundering laws and accordingly number of charters and resolutions were passed and almost the whole world became signatories of such UNO resolutions.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was constituted in 1989 by G7 countries to observe movement of terror financing funds and point out None Cooperative Countries or territories that are found to be non-cooperative in dealing with the money laundering or terrorist financing. The Group of Seven or G7 is a consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, being the largest and advanced economies in the world. It meets regularly and based on intelligence FATF proceeds against those countries, which do not follow the directions of FATF.
The FATF follows an elaborate process to assess compliance, based on which it issues public statements on countries with deficiencies. Countries on this grey list are practically treated like pariahs in the international financial system. Presently North Korea, Iran and Uganda are examples of those countries dealing with it. The USA in furtherance of anti-Pakistan Indian narrative, moved a motion against Pakistan, duly supported by UK, in the meeting of FATF held on February 18-23, 2018 to place Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watchlist to be monitored by FATF. France and Germany subsequently joined this nomination. In fact this entire anti- Pak move has been engineered with ill motives and the entire allegation levelled are India specific and not USA specific. It was alleged that JeM front Falah-i-Insaaniyat and LeT and its front Jamaat-ud-Dawa, are transacting financial business without much difficulty. LeT and LeJ was earlier banned by me as minister and even TTP was banned during our tenure.
In fact India has been struggling hard to implicate Pakistan in terrorism related issues to cover its brutalities in held Kashmir. India tried to fabricate evidence against Hafiz Saeed and despite my direct request to the then interior minister and through diplomatic source for any evidence against Hafiz Saeed, but India has miserably failed to provide the claimed evidence and the government was fined by the Supreme Court of India for having failed to provide evidence. India continued to work against Pakistan to defame it on one pretext or the other and eventually it managed through USA to have Pakistan included in the watch list.
Surprisingly, USA has first placed Pakistan on watch list for so-called religious freedom violations whereas it completely turned blind eyes on the human rights and religious freedom violation in Indian Held Kashmir. Under the government of Premier Narendra Modi, the religious minorities like Muslim, Sikhs, Christians and even Dalits have been persecuted harshly and they were denied to perform their religious rites in the country.
There is background to engineer this action against Pakistan and let us examine some historical facts:
USA decided to fight a war on the soil of Afghanistan by dragging Pakistan into the war. According to available record CIA recruited the most wanted criminals and there were reports that they were paid in dollars from series of bill notes, which were not listed. It was confirmed to me by one of the then senior most intelligence official that the said Bill notes were used in Afghan Jihad and it was the same time when FIA under me had detected dollar supper note, which was being printed and circulated from remote area of Thailand. President Bill Clinton himself thanked Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto during her visit to White House where I also accompanied her. This was the time when Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had stated that we need to control this monster of terrorism otherwise it will come back to bite us and it is proven down the line that the monster of terrorism is now biting the whole world. It was Jehadis created by USA, which engineered entire trouble not only for Pakistan but also for the whole world and hence FATF must look into the background and distribution of dollars to the criminal brought in to fight at the soil of Afghanistan. It should be put on the next agenda and FATF must investigate the origin of this terrorism and the CIA operation in Afghanistan. Pakistan is suffering from this virus of terrorism injected by CIA.
These are the same paid Jehadis who are emerging in different forms and instead of helping Pakistan to get rid of these terrorists, USA is putting pressure on Pakistan. We Pakistani firmly believe that it is India, which is using USA against Pakistan through FATF.
The economic and commercial consequences of such grey listing can be quite disturbing. It would be harder and more expensive for Pakistan to borrow money from the international markets if it is put on the FATF watch-list. While the US worked on Saudi Arabia and Turkey, India dealt with China alone to muster the support of these countries against Pakistan. Hectic diplomacy went on in New Delhi, Washington and Beijing as FATF considered the proposal in Paris. Eventually, the Indian delegation, struck a deal with the Chinese team that related to support for a greater FATF role for Beijing in the future. Soon, all the three objections were removed and the proposal went through.
I have questions and everybody is worried how come China & Saudi Arabia gave unexpected support to the motion although both the countries have very close relations with Pakistan. It is worrying for every Pakistani, as Pakistan had developed high dependence on China both in terms of economic as well as strategic.
Pakistani Foreign Office took the threats of PM Modi lightly to push Pakistan into diplomatic isolation and India, with its anti-Pak mind set, supported by USA managed to infect Pakistan through FATF. This was the second USA-India led anti-Pak move to further pressurise Pakistan.
Impact on Pakistan:
If Pakistan is eventually placed in the watch-list of FATF then Pakistan will be put on regular monitoring, all banking transactions in the country will come under closer global watch, Pakistan’s credibility in global financial transactions would be eroded significantly. Specifically, the economic and commercial consequences of such listing can be quite disturbing. It would be harder and more expensive for Pakistan to borrow money from the international markets.
Every businessman and Pakistani tourists would be subjected to rigorous scrutiny and in other words we would be under suspicion in the eyes of international community regardless of the fact that we have made sacrifices in terms of finances and human lives in the war on terror. Ironically what reward we got in the end for that help and support tendered to USA! Nothing as we the fighters against terrorists have been declared the abettors of terrorists. Another lesson learnt by Pakistan, if at all we remember the lessons of the history.
How to counter this?
It has been decided that if Pakistan does not take further action against militants operating within its borders its name will be put back into the list. Pakistan has been given time of 3 months till June to crack down on the militants and submit its action plan report if it wants its name to be removed from the list.
Government of Pakistan first need to demand the details of the allegation of money laundering, specific militant activities, money laundering cases reported against Pakistanis or business houses, specify border militant activities, specific terrorist financing with banking transactions at both ends.
How and where Pakistanis have found involved in money laundering of terrorist financing directly affecting USA. USA is third party and is acting on the complaints of other two independent countries and Pakistan must demand where and how these three Pakistani organisations have directly hurt these countries.
We must constitute a task force consisting of members from FIA, ISI, MI, Nacta and State Bank to deal with the suspected terror financing and money laundering. Moreover, our National Action Plan needs to be revisited and international requirements may be made part of it. Madrassa Reforms must be given special attention and already proposed law may be enacted.
I will wait to write further till I hear about the exact allegations against Pakistan.
The writer is Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” & former Interior Minister of Pakistan. @Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393