New Delhi leaves no opportunity go a-begging where it could badger Islamabad on its perceived ‘misdeeds’. The latest one to pounce upon was a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held in Australia where it takes a seat on the table. The Joint Review Group meeting of FATF had been convened in Sydney from January 8 to 10 to take stock of progress achieved by Pakistan in four key areas: terrorism financing risk assessment report, customs department report on cash couriers, implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and inter-agency coordination. However, digressing from the outlined topics, India used the platform to peddle its foreign policy agenda by raising impertinent questions. New Delhi’s representatives needled Islamabad to tell the forum about actions it has taken against half a dozen banned outfits and individuals it considers as sources of threat. More specifically, they tried to pin the country down on the issues of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
They also tried to inquire about the measures taken against two figures they dread most – Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar. Not to be intimidated by such adversarial probing, Pakistan played with a straight bat and answered most questions to the general satisfaction of the meeting participants. Our team did not respond to specific questions about individual entities to the chagrin of Indian representatives. The Pakistani delegation took the position that the country had taken actions against over 30 proscribed international and regional organizations and the questions should be based on actions taken against all of them, not just a select few. This stance did not sit well with representatives of our arch-nemesis and they kept up with their refrain.
Concerns had been raised about actions to curb smuggling of cash across borders, but Pakistan was able to satisfy the group. More review meetings are lined up in the future and Islamabad should prepare well to placate the international body on its concerns and attempt to take its name off the troublesome ‘grey list’.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2019.
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