Pakistan Army: Hope for Pakistan in FATF
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental policymaking organisation, was established in 1989 by the G-7 countries primarily to combat threats posed to the integrity of the international financial system. The tragic incident of 9/11 gave an impetus to FATF to become a lynchpin for watching over terror financing in the world. The core objective of FATF is to establish standards and advocate successful enactment of legal and operational mechanisms to combat money laundering and terror financing in the world. The dawn of 2012 brought a dark day in the history of Pakistan as the country was placed in FATF’s grey list for its ‘strategic deficiencies’ in combating money laundering and terror financing. With 26 countries placed in FATF’s grey list, Pakistan stands out as the most significant country owing to its geopolitical standing, nuclear capability and one of the strongest militaries in the region. FATF posited Pakistan with a 27-point agenda to combat money laundering and terror financing to avoid being blacklisted in FATF. Since being placed in FATF’s grey list, the Government of Pakistan in cooperation with Pakistan Army has been working tirelessly to undertake concrete steps in implementation of FATF’s action plan.
The conundrum of FATF has proven to be exceedingly difficult for Pakistan since the country was placed in FATF’s grey list again in 2018, after its exit in 2015. Adding to the waves of dilemma was fallacious propaganda done by Pakistan’s adversaries to damage the integrity of Pakistan. India has been conducting false-flag operations and advocating state-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan which offers a clear vindication of India’s acrimonious and duplicitous role in blocking Pakistan’s way from getting out of FATF’s grey list. India has also been influencing international institutions especially FATF by propagating Pakistan’s image as a terror sponsoring state in South Asia, urging FATF to blacklist Pakistan. The armed forces of Pakistan have a longstanding history of playing a constructive part in Pakistan’s defence. FATF’s main concern was terror financing and the lack of action taken against abettors, facilitators and financing sanctuaries in Pakistan. Pakistan Army left no stone unturned in its efforts to help exit Pakistan from FATF’s grey list and formed the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) working in cooperation with other state institutions to comply with FATF’s action plan. In collaboration with the Interior Ministry, a National Action Plan was devised that incorporated 26 intelligence agencies of Pakistan working together to carry out 20000 IBOs to disintegrate, shatter and destroy terrorist remnants all over Pakistan, particularly FATA. An array of military operations including operation Al-Mizan, Rah-e-Raast and Rad-ul-Fasaad entered in a new phase of kinetic and non-kinetic domains of terror combating measures aimed at eradicating every shred of unrest from Pakistani soil and promulgating peace in the region.
ISIS (Khorasan), TTP, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and other terrorist organisations were left in tatters owing to Pakistan Armed Forces and intelligence agencies’ collaborative efforts and the successful intra-coordination network, which led to the successful elimination of their handlers, facilitators and financers. The long contending perspective of FATF about Pakistan significantly shifted positively in favour of Pakistan following the defeat of various militant groups from Pakistani soil through unimpeded efforts of the Army. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pakistan had an unprecedented decline in terrorism from a record of around 4000 terrorist attacks in 2010, to merely 319 incidents in 2020 which is also acclaimed as the successful triumph of Pakistan Army. Of late, on the directions of COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, a special cell has been established in GHQ under the command of high-ranking military officers, functioning to streamline the mechanism among different departments, ministries and agencies of Pakistan through an action plan. A special cell is also responsible for controlling incidents of money laundering, terror financing, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and target killings through effective strategic measures. Pakistan Army’s stringent measures have facilitated Pakistan in combating its vulnerabilities and is serving as a beacon of tranquillity to make the country a prosperous and triumphant entity in the comity of nations.
Pakistan Army and state institutions averted terrorist attacks alongside presenting a fortified case for Pakistan’s exit from the grey list. In a nutshell, Pakistan has stood against imminent threats of terrorism and money laundering and has successfully overcome challenges posed to its security and integrity. On achieving the milestone of complying with the 27 points of FATF, Pakistan Army has played a significant role in foiling Indian attempts of blacklisting Pakistan and has endeavoured great contributions in helping Pakistan exit from FATF’s grey list. In all likelihood, Pakistan is likely to exit FATF’s grey list due to its strong commitment and significant progress in implementing comprehensive counter terrorist financing action plan.