Friday September 17, 2021

FATF and India

July 24, 2021

Pakistan has been on the grey list of the Financial Action Force (FATF) for a long time now. Despite its best efforts to meet all the requirements of the FATF, it has been hard for Pakistan to convince the forum to remove it from the list. Pakistan has continued to highlight the role India has been playing to keep Pakistan in the list, but the FATF never bothered much with these concerns. Now, India itself has revealed that it had a major hand in obstructing Pakistan’s efforts. The global financial watchdog is essentially a technical forum, and it should remain the same. Any attempts by India to take political advantage at this forum deserves condemnation. Pakistan has made significant progress in the right direction, and this should be enough now to remove the country from the list.

Pakistan has fulfilled nearly all points of the original action plan and most countries at the FATF platform have recognized this. In this context, the introduction of a second action plan was uncalled for. The recent public acknowledgement by India is significant and the world must take it at its face value as India has admitted that it had ensured Pakistan remained on the FATF grey list. The statement came from none other than India’s external affairs minister, S Jaishankar who was addressing a gathering of BJP leaders. The pressure that India has been exerting on international forums against Pakistan is no longer a secret and the world community must take cognizance of this undue strain on Pakistan.

India’s maneuvers have largely been behind the scenes, but it is about time the country faces the consequences on an international level. It would be a shame if the decision-making at the FATF started to look like it sits under the shadow of a tinted umbrella that presents an opaque picture of Pakistan. The FATF must take into account the negative role India has been playing against Pakistan by remaining a purely technical forum and keeping its decision-making free of all political influences. Nations around the world should take note of this admission by India so it can be deterred from taking similar action in the future. International bodies including the FATF need to act impartially and neutrally while making decisions that have a major influence on the financial dealings of other nations and, consequently, on the welfare and wellbeing of their economy and their people.