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Pakistan: Black List or Hit-list

 

 

United States President Donald Trump says, “No More!”. No more of what? No more of Pakistan’s “lies and deceit” according to Trump or no more of Pakistan Army saving an American-Canadian couple along with their three children?  which the very US President appreciated a few months ago. The National Security Committee (NSC) voiced its “deep disappointment” on Trump’s comments after the meeting called by Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, comprising the army chief, naval and air heads, intelligence chiefs and other ministers, on Tuesday.

Trump’s do-more-policy has led to US landing Pakistan in the “Grey List” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Pakistan was previously on it from 2012 to 2015. It will now stand in yet again along with the grey-list in June, 2018. In January, US President Donald Trump withheld military aid and payments estimated around $1.2 billion US Dollars to Pakistan tying it to terrorist organizations.

The diplomatic obstacle has given birth to anger in Islamabad against the US, which led the motion against Pakistan at the FATF meeting, in Paris. Already the US-Pak relationship has been worsening since the social media war where Pakistan has responded with a caution US to not blame Pakistan for their own failure in war in Afghanistan. Pakistan was first able to defend itself from the motion with the support from the Gulf countries China and Turkey. Sadly, the celebration was only short-lived by the US government’s efforts to re-vote some days later in the last week of February when the drawback of Saudia Arabia and then China came into play.

Though the strange thing is that the FATF evaluates country’s financial system to decide whether to put them on the blacklist or not. However, no such evaluation was done this time and FATF just acted on United States of America’s proposal with the backing of France, Germany and Britain. Thus it raises a lot of concerns for the safety of Pakistan in the globe among such giants.

Yet, Mr. Miftah Ismail, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, claims that even though FATF’s decision will act as an impedance on Pakistan’s economy, but with its near 6% growth, is expanding at its fastest pace in a decade and shall easily withstand this too. Whereas, if Pakistan is blacklisted, it will be tough getting foreign loans from IMF World bank or Asian Development Bank etc. Foreign Banks maybe pulled out given how Habib Bank Limited was fined by the New York State Department a few months due to regulation overstepping tied to terrorist activities.  This may even cause several big companies who had first brought their intentions to surface of investing in Pakistan, primarily the telecom and auto-sector, to retract their decision.

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