The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) against money laundering and terror financing has put Pakistan on notice for sanctions, and Islamabad can hardly say it is being wrongly bullied. Its answer to the FATF decision comes in the shape of a mantra typified by the following quotation:
“Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism. Pakistan has sacrificed more than any country in the war against terror. Pakistan has lost thousands of precious civilian and military lives and financially lost over a hundred billion dollars in this war—which is not even our war! Millions of people in FATA have been displaced. Pakistan has taken out several terrorist organizations especially the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the militant Islamic State group and Al Qaeda.”
What punctures this “foreign policy response” is the fact that China didn’t veto the FATF decision where America and its partners in Europe favored putting Pakistan on notice. Pakistan hurriedly “took action” but media soon found that it really couldn’t roll back a phenomenon created over decades. The world too is not wearing blinkers as when it was more forgiving.
And China has not “ditched” Pakistan for the first time. In 2017, BRICS, an organization comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, had issued a warning which read as follows: “The security situation [in South Asia] has been affected by violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAESH, Al Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizbut Tahrir.” At least three out of those terror outfits are allegedly based in Pakistan.
An increasingly isolated Pakistan needs to take steps to set its house in order but the institutions that can do it are opposed to any major self-correcting purgation and are allowing the politicians to undermine the state by tearing each other apart.