- For our own sake
Pakistan has fought a largely successful, long and bloody war against terrorism at home for more than a decade through multiple military operations that took the fight to the enemy. One brand of that enemy however has remained untouched over the years- militant outfits operating freely and openly in the country. Although some of these ‘experiments’ were ‘taken care of’, LeJ for example, others have been tolerated. It was only when Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list last year that action against proscribed organisations such as the LeT/JuD and JeM became necessary. Since then, Hafiz Saeed has been arrested under charges that are not easily bailable, his assets have been seized and many of his top people are detained as well. Last week four more members of the LeT were arrested- a move that has been welcomed by Washington through the State Department’s representative in this region, Alice Wells, who has urged Pakistan to ‘prosecute the arrested and prevent militant groups from operating on its soil for its own future’.
The US has reiterated this advice many times before but Pakistan took little to no action. Now the country is faced with the prospect of being placed on the dreaded FATF black list that will categorise it as being a non-cooperative country in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. India being a member of the FATF is lobbying to get Pakistan on the black list, and why wouldn’t they? After all, it fits right into their narrative of labeling Pakistan a “terrorist supporting failed state”. It was up to us to prove that we are cooperative through prompt and visible action. Yet in the past year we have come up short in the eyes of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) citing overall poor compliance even in its latest report released a few weeks before the ongoing FATF meeting. Pakistan has the support of some allies and might survive this review, but this is not a sustainable strategy- the country must take action against all militants for its own sake, not just because it is being made to do so.