The Pakistani government has fulfilled yet another requirement of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by providing a list of terrorist entities and individuals, including those proscribed by the UN Security Council, to estate agents. In this way the government has made it impossible for all banned terrorist organisations as well as their representatives to buy any sort of property anywhere in Pakistan. All this has made the government release a 99-page long list of banned outfits, which has been shared with stakeholders.
In this way Pakistan has also removed the last remaining objection of FATF, which was used to keep us on the grey list. Now our opponents on the forum, spearheaded by India, will also have less leverage over the final decision. That is a very important fact because everybody knows pretty well by now that it was diplomatic pressure on the outfit that kept it from freeing Pakistan from restrictions, not the real on-ground situation.
This is a matter of great urgency for the government because it restricts our presence in the international financial markets. And this is just the time when Pakistan needs as much market exposure as possible. The economy has done better than almost all regional rivals despite the pressures of the pandemic and now stands ready to take off. Therefore, the sooner we can be rid of this sword hanging over our heads, the better.
India is, of course, livid that the regional situation is turning out just the way Pakistan had predicted. The Taliban takeover of Kabul, especially, has Delhi going round in circles because it has suddenly robbed it of its outreach that it used to mount attacks inside Pakistan. Therefore it is only natural for it to lean even more on forums like FATF to put as much pressure on Pakistan as possible. So far international capitals that matter have stayed silent as India moved pieces across the board largely because of the pull of its immense commercial market. But since Pakistan is playing the last round very wisely, and the regional calculus is also favouring our position, it seems only a matter of time before Delhi will have nothing to blackmail Islamabad with. *
Published in Daily Times on 10th September 2021