The action of the G-7 sponsored Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s just-concluded plenary in Paris of putting Pakistan on the grey list, submitting it to intense scrutiny on terror financing is a shot in the arm for India, which has been facing the brunt of Pakistani financing of terror in Kashmir. That it has been operationalised, thanks to intense US pressure, is an encouraging signal of Indo-US bonding. A last-minute consensus was arrived at after China withdrew its objection to the move. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which were the other objectors, caved in when they found China not pursuing it. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
The case against Pakistan was that it had failed to act against outfits like UN-banned terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its affiliate, the Falah-i-Insaaniyat Foundation. Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja M Asif had earlier tweeted from Moscow that Pakistan had won a reprieve of three months but the relief was short-lived. Pakistan had been on the FATF watch list from 2012 to 2015, then only on issues of money laundering. Recently, to escape action the Pakistan government had amended the country’s anti-terrorism law through a presidential ordinance to address some concerns of the FATF. The legislation provided legal ground for action against UN-banned organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, headed by the Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed. China has, for some time, been stalling UN sanctions against Saeed despite strong Indian objections.
While the next plenary of FATF three months later would review the decision to put Pakistan on ‘grey list,’ it is an opportunity for India to build up a strong case for continuing with it. India must pursue this and also the UN sanctions against Hafiz Saeed with new vigour, and coordinate action with the US to get Islamabad to close terror training camps and infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir.