Geopolitics is tough and it even becomes tougher when a nation like America gets involved. It is rightly said that there are no permanent friends or enemies in international relations, there are only permanent interests. Further, the interests of America are hard to predict and the likely removal of Pakistan from the FATF Grey List suggests so. However, we at TFI had predicted the same way back in June itself. Still, witnessing the latest twists regarding the relationship between America and Pakistan, it may appear strange.
Pakistan to be taken off FATF Grey List
In its meeting in June, the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) while Pakistan continued to be painted Grey, had announced that it might be removed after an on-site visit to verify progress. Following that a FATF technical team had conducted a “successful” visit, said the Foreign Office. Now, the country has sought removal from the FATF Grey List , citing that it has ‘complied with 11 conditions’. Pakistan has been on the FATF Grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since 2018.
What it means for Pakistan
The FATF is a global ‘money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog’ established by a G7 summit in Paris, which has categorised Pakistan in the Grey List, which meant that Pakistan is a safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering. FATF grey list is a precursor towards sanctions. If a country is under it, then financial institutions generally do not want to provide any support to the country.
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It is not that Pakistan has remained unaffected and its economy proves the same. Pakistan has been hell bent on seeking removal from the list as Pakistan has been labelled as a safe haven for terrorists and that has inflicted a huge loss not only on country’s reputation but also economy. Removal from the list would help Pakistan gather billions of funds from the IMF and the World Bank as well as reduce the scrutiny.
Understanding the US angle
With the change of regime in America, its foreign policy changes, especially with respect to India and Pakistan. When Pakistan was pushed down the list, it was Donald Trump ruling the United States of America, the American President who saw India as an strategic ally. With the regime change, the chords have changed. Sleepy Joe and his administration after failing to get India on their side, against Russia, have begun balancing between India and Pakistan. After 3 years, the US has begun pushing military aid down Pakistan’s throat and the recent F-16 sustainment aid worth $450 million stands in deposition for the same. Now, as per reports there have been push to take Pakistan off the list, particularly from the US. Within this week, it is expected that Pakistan would be taken off the list after the Berlin meet.
It is so because Democrats need Muslim voters in internal elections, so it is a must for them to cater to their demands of keeping their Muslim brothers happy. In this case, it is Pakistan.
However, it may look strange to many as recently Biden in his speech has claimed Pakistan to be the most dangerous country on the planet. Further, there was no mention of Pakistan in the US’ new National Security Strategy. India has been a target of Pakistan originated terrorism and the push from the West is enough to irk India.
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