On 23 October 2020, to penalize Pakistan’s economy for supporting terrorism, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on the grey list till February 2021. Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list in June 2018 and was given an action plan to curb terror financing. However, Pakistan has repeatedly failed to implement this action plan for the last two years which in part due to terrorism being an instrument of state policy.
Pakistan has failed to comply with FATF norms. This move signaled success for India however it is a partial victory for Pakistan too because out of 27 parameters, as per FATF reports, Pakistan has shown improvements on 21 points while six points are still pending. Therefore, Pakistan has been given four months till February 2021 to comply with all norms after which an onsite visit will be conducted and then subsequently Pakistan may be removed from the grey list but the same remains a distant dream.
Pakistan remaining on the FATF grey list is a diplomatic success for India however what came as surprise as Turkey’s proposal for removing Pakistan from the FATF list by granting its exemption on six key parameters. This Turkish proposal signifies a landmark achievement for the Turkey-Pakistan relationship. While Turkey has been siding with Pakistan on Kashmir and other related issues which have often amounted to interference in India’s internal affairs as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to establish Turkey as supreme Islamic power which has angered Saudi Arabia and other powers. This new bonhomie between Turkey and Pakistan is of limited use as Pakistan cannot replace Saudi Arabia which has time and again supported the Pakistani economy to stay afloat. Here Indian diplomats have done a fantastic job wherein Saudi Arabia has now tending to be more and more neutral on Kashmir as India has increasingly sourced more oil from Saudi Arabia. The proposed Saudi Arabia and Reliance deal will further increase the Saudi stakes in Indian prosperity and reduce finances to Pakistan.
The second surprise at the FATF meeting was the silence of China which did not propose any exemption for Pakistan. For those who remember it last time, it was China that stonewalled the proposals of permanently placing Pakistan into the grey list and it is expected that after the on-site visit China will restore its support for Pakistan because it was inconsequential to take a stand in this meeting.
What we are witnessing between China and Pakistan is a complete military diplomatic and initial bonding with Pakistan is more or less becoming a satellite state of China inch by inch as Pakistani Generals are trading sovereignty of Pakistan to Chinese money lenders just for staying afloat. In the Ladakh standoff, Pakistani Army interpreters have been seen amongst the Chinese soldiers for translating Punjabi spoken by Sikh troops of the Indian Army who are deployed on LAC. In the last few years, China has not only improved Pakistan’s military and logistic infrastructure by CPEC which has become a 50 billion dollar debt trap. While some nations have realized the threat of Chinese loans, Pakistan has gone full steam ahead on these loans whose results are yet to be seen by the common man and in the long run are likely to cause more harm than good.
Recently we have seen Chinese Army QBZ-95 automatic rifles being recovered from the terrorists in Kashmir which marks Chinese meddling in Kashmir as India in the future may face Pakistani terror financed by Chinese money and weapons. If Indian intelligence agencies pick up more pieces of evidence of Chinese funding of Pakistani terrorism then the Indian government will be compelled to take stronger actions against China besides implying that there be more attacks on Indian soil which will further deteriorate the relationship between India and Pakistan. Therefore, Indian needs to realize this danger and start taking corrective measures like keeping Pakistan on grey list and maybe even getting it blacklisted. Pakistani state and ISI remain the only country in the world which are financing terror activity in the other countries be it on Indian or Afghanistani soil.
Finally, Team Guarding India estimates that these scenarios are no longer just hypotheses but also may become reality in near future and India needs to rise up to these challenges. This becomes critical as a two-front war which was dismissed as mere speculation a few years back is now a stark reality.