Staying off the blacklist

  • Just Indian machinations?


Prime Minister Imran Khan has apparently absolved Pakistan of ever having done anything to avoid the wrath of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by saying that it was all an Indian conspiracy. He presented this simplistic explanation during an interview to Al-Jazeera telecast on Sunday. He appeared to ignore the fact that FATF was multinational and unanimous in its asking Pakistan to take a wide range of actions that would squeeze terrorist groups and such non-state actors from operating. It should be noted that Pakistan’s experiences with India in FATF were well underway when the current crisis began on August 5. It should also be noted that India could not be expected to help cover up for Pakistan when even traditional allies like China and Saudi Arabia were showing reluctance, not so much out of affection for India, as because Pakistan had left them little room to defend it.

Mr Khan’s explanation for the lack of support for Pakistan, and the backing India was getting, was India’s large economy, and the large market it provided, does not explain why Pakistan has to let its economy become a basket-case, or why Pakistan should not wield considerable economic might, though not necessarily as much as India, with its being a single market of over 200 million people. Indeed, it is the size of that market, which has kept foreign investors interested in Pakistan even though it has been an economic problem area for a long time, continually making it turn to the IMF for relief of its foreign exchange difficulties.

Mr Khan should recognise that both Pakistan’s woes with the FATF, and its failure to garner support for the Kashmiri people in the face of the most egregious Indian oppression are the result of poor diplomacy, though it would be well not to forget that even the most gifted diplomacy cannot make a country punch too far above its weight: Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats will only gain the attention that their country’s economic and military might entitles them to. Being right will take them nowhere. Diplomacy is always trumped by national interests, and economic interests are probably the strongest of all. Mr Khan may think that proclaiming Pakistan’s weakness will help the Kashmir cause, or keep Pakistan off the FATF black list, but it is probable that this will merely give India encouragement.