South Asia and Beyond

FATF Meet: Pak Unlikely To Be Blacklisted But Holding Its Feet To Fire

NEW DELHI: The conviction of UN-designated terrorist and 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed by a Pak court has come almost on cue. The terror watchdog FATF (Financial Action Task Force) has a crucial plenary meeting where it will assessed if Pakistan has done enough to crack down on terror funding and money laundering and whether its plea to be removed from the ‘grey list’ should be considered. Saeed’s sentencing in two cases, in the light of the upcoming FATF meet, is therefore being perceived as a mere eyewash. Sushant Sareen who is a Senior Fellow with the New Delhi-based think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and a keen Pak-watcher believes that if FATF decisions were taken objectively and purely on the basis of criteria laid down by it, Pakistan would find itself in its blacklist. However, as he tells StratNews Global Editor Surya Gangadharan and Deputy Editor Parul Chandra in this interview, FATF’s decision-making also has a political element to it. So while India may want Pakistan blacklisted, Sareen says it’s better to keep the sword of blacklisting hanging over Pakistan’s head to ensure it keeps taking steps to comply with FATF’s requirements on checking terror activities on its soil. FATF’s hawk-eye will also mean that the channelling of money to terror outfits by Pakistan will also remain constrained, says Sareen. He also slams the Americans for their dealing with Pakistan on terror, noting that while they’re not naive, it’s difficult to see sense in what they do. Sareen’s also critical of US state department official Alice G.Wells, for her comments describing as a “way forward” the conviction of Saeed. “Why should she issue a certificate like this? It makes no sense,” said Sareen while referring to Pakistan’s duplicity when it comes to cracking down on terrorists and terror outfits operating from its soil. Watch the interview for more:

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