Pakistan may face more threats and challenges in the days to come

Forget Pakistan’s contributions and positive roles in history, We may keep aside the functions of Pakistan in cold-war, the Afghan War in the 1980s, against the USSR’s invasion, the War on terror in the middle east, or the US invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 in 2001. The recent role of Pakistan, in bringing the Taliban to negotiating table and ensured the Doha deal to be reached satisfactorily.  The safe withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan is Pakistan’s facilitation. Pakistan has been providing land and air access to Afghanistan for the supply of food, medicines, and all necessities of life for Allied troops in Afghanistan. Even, while evacuating from Pakistan, yet, it is Pakistan providing a safe air passage for the troop’s withdrawal. Particularly the recent role of Pakistan was acknowledged by the US administrations of President Trump for bringing the Taliban to negotiations and by President Joe Bidden for providing safe exit and face-saving. Pakistan’s positive role is recognized by many world leaders and international organizations.

Pakistan has learned bitter lessons in the past and has decided not to side with anyone in any war, aggression, or conflict. Pakistan supports only peace, stability, progress, developments, and prosperity. Pakistan cannot provide military bases to the US for attacks inside Afghanistan. It is a policy decision of the Government of Pakistan backed by 220 million brave Pakistanis. Furthermore, while stationed in Afghanistan for two long decades, supported by 46 strong allies, troop’s strength reached 150,000, utilizing the most advanced tactics, weapons, technologies, the US could not achieve success, and how can airstrikes from outside Afghanistan bring positive results. Illogical! Irrational!

The US is annoyed on the refusal of providing a military basis to attack in Afghanistan in the post-withdrawal era. Let the international community decide the logic and rationale. However, Pakistan is cooperating and facilitating where ever it is deemed necessary. Yet Pakistan is coerced, pressurized, punished, and targeted is beyond understanding.

Pakistan is struggling hard to come out of the grey list and has already satisfied 26 action points from the given list of 27. It is a big achievement. Its score is even better than in some of the most advanced countries. Thus, it is pathetic to note that some advanced countries with a score lower than Pakistan are still on the white list. It is ridiculous that these same countries are leading the propaganda against Pakistan. FATF decision is bias and discriminatory. Pakistani Government and the public are annoyed by this attitude. Let the international community judge the situation and stand in support of Pakistan. 

As a matter of fact, FATF is being used as a tool to coerce other nations. This episode urges us to look at the history, evolution, and working of the FATF. Created as a result of the G-7 recommendation, it is a club of the powerful economic elite of the world. Since its inception, it has acted as a tool for G-7. It is an institutional form of an economic hitman. It has double standards. If look carefully, at the countries on the blacklist or grey list, all are political adversaries of the US or its allies. FATF has been politicized.  Unfair!

The FATF has miserably failed to name the most powerful money launders and facilitators, leave alone take action against them. The most shocking but commonly known fact is that paradises of money laundering are running the show of FATF. It is a slap on the face of the so-called international rule-based system of the West. FinCEN leaks are the most recent event, which has jolted the whole world. The leading banks of the West are the main facilitators of money laundering, knowingly or unknowingly. JP Morgan, HSBC, Standard Charted Bank, Deutsche Bank, UAE Central Bank, and Barclays Bank are just a few examples. Almost forty banks in India are involved in Money laundering and India is involved in terror financing, yet, is not noticed by FATF. Besides, according to the FinCEN leak, London is the hub of major money laundering activities. It was reported to have links with about 3000 such companies. Already, a report by Transparency International, UK, has flagged around 86 UK banks and financial institutions for assisting dirty money holders in buying assets. The Rich countries are the beneficiary of money laundering. If the corrupt rulers of developing or underdeveloped countries stop depositing their black money in the developed countries, they might collapse immediately.

FATF also remained silent over the Uranium sale openly in India. It rang the alarm bells among the wider diplomatic, defense community, and experts. Uranium is extremely lethal and can play havoc with human lives, even countries. Terrorists can use it against civilians, which would be a huge disaster. It is not the first time that Uranium is being made available in the open market across India. It is not the first time, It has already happened before. Unfortunately, the FATF could not take an effective move. Although it has direct relevance with terrorism, rather, terrorist attacks, India is still enjoying immunity. Injustice!

Pakistan is observing the worst impacts of political victimization. The G-7 is using it as economic coercion. The media is using this opportunity to malign Pakistan and distorting its image. It also has economic implications for us as the international business community avoids doing business with grey-listed countries. There is a broader consensus among independent scholars that the FATF is being used against Pakistan as an arm-twisting tool. It is being used to compel Pakistan to bow down in front of the US and Western demands. It is the immediate reaction to Pakistan’s refusal to provide a military basis.

It is an established open fact that Pakistan has been pursued and pressurized to leave the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). President Trump and his administration were hell-bent on convincing Pakistan to part ways with China and BRI or CPEC. It was even discussed at the highest levels. Think tanks, media, and digital space were all used to fan propaganda against the CPEC. President Biden’s administration is no different from President Trump’s. Rather, it is trying to further complicate the situation for Pakistan. He might be polite on the surface but hard at actions. However, Pakistan has refused to accept this pressure. Pakistan has made it clear that the CPEC is our need and there would be no compromise on our relationship with China. Just like many other countries, Pakistan wanted to keep good relations with all nations and our relations with China are not a threat to any other third country.

IMF is also being used to pressurize Pakistan. After refusal to grant Military bases, the IMF has applied strict conditions and undeclared demand “Do More”. IMF under the US influence is also a political tool to achieve political goals and recently active in Pakistan.

The US is using various other political tools too, like the Child Protection bill, etc. There are many more threats for Pakistan in the days to come. The desperate US administration is blaming Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan. But forget that as long as they were cooperative with Pakistan, Pakistan protected their interests and guaranteed that the US achieved all strategic goals in the region. The US military leadership understands the potential of Pakistan and its strategic role, but political leadership has a visible shift in its policies and ignored Pakistan in recent years.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.