The FATF meeting is being held once again on February 21, 2022 in Paris and according to sources, this time the FATF members have to review in depth the performance reports of all the countries who included in the greylist and blacklist. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been on the greylist for the last four years and despite fulfilling all the conditions given by the FATF, the FATF members are reluctant to remove Pakistan from the greylist.
Today we will review the performance of the government of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the current Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan had gone from the greylist to the white list in the PML-N government but Pakistan was not coming out of the greylist in the PTI government.
When Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2013, Pakistan was on the FATF’s greylist and the main points that then PML-N government faced from the FATF were as follows:
- Weak laws and actions required against money laundering and terror financing
- Pakistan to make strong laws against terrorists and to take strict measures to break the terrorist financing network
- Pakistan should abide by the laws enacted by the UN against terrorists and freeze the bank accounts of terrorists
- Pakistan should stop its business community from doing business with dangerous terrorists and take strict measures in this regard
- Pakistan should take steps to save the lives of journalists and take steps for the recovery of those who have been forcibly disappeared
These were all important points on which the PML-N government worked tremendously and Pakistan moved from the FATF greylist to the white list in 2015.
How did the PML-N government act on the key points of the FATF? They are as follows:
- The government enacted strict laws against money laundering and as a result, Pakistan was ranked 117th in 2017, according to Transparency International
- Pakistan, in consultation with all stakeholders and formulated a “National Action Plan” to combat terrorism and enacted the Anti-Terror Funding Act to crack down on terrorist financing networks
- Pakistan, in compliance with UN rules against terrorists and freeze the bank accounts of terrorists and banned all forms of financial aid. For example, Hafiz Saeed and his party, Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD)’s bank accounts were freeze
- The PML-N did its best to protect the lives of the journalists and also spent its energies for the recovery of the forcibly disappeared
These were all the important points on which the PML-N government worked hard and by establishing a strong network all the concerns of the FATF were removed and Pakistan was removed from the greylist and added to the whitelist.
On the contrary, the current PTI government had to implement the same important points and the results are as follows:
- The current PTI government has failed miserably in curbing corruption and money laundering. According to the Transparency International report, Pakistan was ranked 120th in 2019, Pakistan was ranked 124th in 2020 and Pakistan is ranked 140th in 2021. Every year there is a steady increase in corruption in Pakistan and the government will have to prove what are the reasons for continuous corruption and money laundering in Pakistan? Due to which Pakistan has risen from 117th to 140th position
- We have also seen incidents of terrorism in the current regime and the government has succeeded in convicting international terrorists through the courts but has failed to break the network of these banned organisations. For example, the government has succeeded in getting Hafiz Saeed and his associates sentenced by the courts but despite the ban on his party, it has failed to stop his movement. Even today, Hafiz Saeed’s party (Allah O Akbar Tahreek) and other names continue their activities and programs are being held in their center (Masjid-Al-Qadisiyah) every day while according to the government of Pakistan, all their centres have been handed over to the endowment department
- According to the government of Pakistan, all the bank accounts of banned organisations and international terrorists have been frozen, but why are they continuing their activities under different names? The government will also have to answer this question of the FATF
- Recently, Finance Advisor Shaukat Tareen said in a statement that one of the conditions of FATF is that Pakistan should stop its business community from doing business with terrorists and their supporters. Now the Pakistani government will also have to prove how many meetings it has held with the business community and what the results have been
- The lives of journalists are under constant threat in the current PTI government and in a span of one year more than 12 journalists have been killed in Pakistan, many journalists have been injured and many journalists have been forcibly disappeared and everyday their heirs are protesting for their recovery. Secondly, many people have been forcibly disappeared in Pakistan and their heirs are holding sit-ins in the Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, which is very sad for us
- The last important point is that the ruler of any country should refrain from talking about another country. Nowadays, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan vents his anger by speaking against the United States and tries to link issues which have nothing to do with the United States, which is a very inappropriate attitude and it is a violation of diplomatic etiquette. While the most important feature of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was that he was reluctant to discuss the internal affairs of any country due to which Pakistan’s relations with other developed countries besides its neighbours were much better which was rewarded to Pakistan in the form of foreign investment and support in the United Nations
- The current government still has time and should implement the key points of the FATF with complete uniformity and get Pakistan off the greylist so that the image of Pakistan in the world can be improved and make solid decisions together with the country’s key stakeholders to accomplish this important task.
The contributor, Mian Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, is a chemical engineer who doubles as a columnist, having conducted research and crafted blogs for the past several years as a personality for various newspapers and websites throughout Pakistan.
Reach out to him @mujeebtalks.