There is no doubt that Pakistan alone is not responsible for providing sanctuary to extremists on our soil, but bitter fact remains we allowed ourselves to be used. This Victim Syndrome following FATF grey-listing can only suffice to soothe our bitten prestige, but is not music to other people’s ears. In Strategic Games played by World Powers, countries like Pakistan, should refrain for being used as pawns in game of chess. It is always the pawns that end up being dumped, while main players move on to select another site for one more game. It takes time to shed old habits. While we are trying to shed our past baggage, some wise men decided to launch Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who managed to hold Islamabad hostage with 1500 activists armed with batons, firearms etc. 

The unfortunate reality is that numerous self assumed specialists and defense analysts, justify daily on various TV channels the existence of these private militia outfits as assets instead of a liability they have become for this unfortunate country. 

For a country like Pakistan the sole priority should be to consolidate economy, build an effective defense strategy, invest in human resource development and under no circumstances be tempted to get involved in other people’s war. It is time to normalize relations with countries in region on a reciprocal basis. As far as security links with countries in Gulf and Mid-East, negotiations should be carried out by government on a quid pro quo basis and not just confined to remuneration but in exchange for trade benefits etc. Never, ever again, should the mistakes made by Zia or Musharraf be allowed to recur. 

We were previously listed on FATF list in 2012-2015, but managed to get unlisted because of friends like China, Turkey etc who vouched for our commitment to give a detailed plan to weed out these groups, declared as terrorists by UN. It was our half hearted attempts to implement plan, plug channels used by these outfits for financing, which coincidentally are same used for money laundering and buying assets abroad, while patronizing few selective, that provided an opportunity to arch enemy to inflict this embarrassing humiliation. 

MALIK TARIQ ALI,  

Lahore, March 5.