On Sunday, India’s negative role in the FATF was exposed after the Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar remarked that the BJP government has ensured that Pakistan remains on the grey list. This really does not come as a surprise for Islamabad, however the international community must now take note of India’s duplicitous role. Pakistan has been drawing attention towards the politicisation of FATF and the undermining of its processes by India for a while now. The latest statement from Mr Jaishankar is only further proof of New Delhi’s continued efforts to use an important technical forum for its parochial political designs against Pakistan. Even though Pakistan has been engaging with the FATF in a sincere manner during the implementation of the action plan, India has consistently attempted to cast doubts on Pakistan’s progress through reprehensible means.
It is also equally true that the Indians wouldn’t be expected to do anything other than sabotage Pakistan’s chances at not just FATF, but anywhere and everywhere they can, and for the FO to think otherwise would amount to living in a fool’s paradise. It is, after all, one of India’s stated foreign policy objectives to sideline and isolate Pakistan internationally. Yet we betray the usual frustration whenever it does just that. Perhaps if we would only pull our socks up and put our house in order such that nobody from the outside can point fingers at it, Delhi wouldn’t be so successful in tilting international opinion about us to its own liking. FATF is definitely an important test case. And more than how the world feels about our anti-money laundering laws it, and any other forum like it, tells us just how the international community views us at any given point in time.
It is a diplomatic litmus test, so to speak. And for it to keep us in the grey list, even though we fell short on only one item, and then add another basket of demands, reeks of a deliberate attempt to keep Pakistan in check. That, unfortunately, means that our FO has its work cut out for it. Clearly it needs to do more than expose India’s excesses and one reason is that the Indians are happy doing it for themselves now, as they did in this case, and it is working out just fine for them. These are very important matters that have come up at a very sensitive time for Pakistan. Hopefully the FO will reorient its approach, sooner rather than later, so it is ahead of the curve instead of behind it. Now that everybody knows that India has politicised the FATF process, it remains to be seen how the FO exploits this information to its advantage and strengthens Pakistan’s position with FATF and other important international platforms.