FATF, international community should keep up pressure

Pakistan has got a four-month reprieve from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global watchdog on money-laundering and terror-financing, thanks to the support of friends like China, Malaysia and Turkey and the last-ditch arrests of some Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders. However, it’s too much to expect Pakistan to mend its ways and show tangible results on the ground any time soon. On Sunday, three terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) were demolished in artillery firing by India after yet another ceasefire violation by the neighbour. The unmistakable presence of terror infrastructure has exposed Pakistan’s insincerity about tackling the menace emanating from its soil. The same day, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi upped the rhetorical ante, declaring his government’s commitment to achieving all FATF targets in time to get the country off the grey list, even as he accused India of trying to blacklist it.

It’s an open secret that unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Pakistani army are aimed at assisting infiltration by terrorists into Indian territory. The Indian Army has been on high alert along the Line of Control ever since the Modi government announced the abrogation of Article 370 that had accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s failure to win over the international community on the Kashmir issue in recent months made it desperate for another misadventure, but the prospect of being downgraded by the FATF hung over it like a sword of Damocles, forcing it to hold back the infiltrators till the coast was clear.

Pakistan’s unsatisfactory compliance report and its cross-border mischief are ample proof of its incorrigible attitude. According to the FATF charter, the support of at least three countries is required to not blacklist a country. India and other like-minded nations should ensure that this technicality does not shield Pakistan for long. Relentless pressure is needed to choke the flow of foreign aid and financially cripple the rogue state. Greater monitoring at the international level can thrust Pakistan into a cul-de-sac, cutting off all escape routes.