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India-Pakistan Relations

Pakistan Focus Analysis

Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ‘certainly visit’ Pakistan next year. “We are fully hopeful that the Indian prime minister will come to Pakistan for the SAARC summit”. He added that though there was no breakthrough during Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s recent visit, there was headway for the next meeting between the two foreign secretaries and the duo could meet again. Pakistan wants to resolve all outstanding issues with India, including Kashmir, through dialogue. There is need for comprehensive dialogue process between the two countries to address all outstanding issues. Lack of trust between the two countries is a major issue and there is not likely to be any worthwhile progress on other issues unless the trust is gradually restored.

Earlier as a follow-up action to the resumption of foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan, the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan briefed the ambassadors of P-5 countries and the EU Mission, stationed in Islamabad, regarding the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary. India had characterized it as a visit in the context of SAARC; Pakistan portrayed it as a visit taking place in lieu of the August visit and termed it as an ice breaker. India ticked off an item to ward off international pressure; Pakistan’s conduct symbolized a wholesome engagement. Despite varied perceptions, the meeting was held in a constructive and positive atmosphere; no fireworks were reported, both sides restated their positions on various contentious events. Pakistani side was careful in not declaring the visit a failure and called it as part of a process. However, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security has acknowledged that there was no breakthrough during the talks.

The menace of terrorism is a known problem that affects most of the countries of the world, including this region. Pakistan also has its concerns on this issue, these were elaborately articulated during the talks, especially the persistent Indian involvement that ferments terrorism in Pakistan, more so in FATA and Balochistan. While India talked about trial of those allegedly involved in Mumbai attacks, Pakistan reminded India that investigations about bombing of Samjhota express that took place much earlier than Mumbai attacks has not ended-up anywhere close to conclusion and that those who have made self-incriminating confessions are out on bail. Pakistan has suffered the most because of terrorism; and has done more than any other country to counter terrorism. Pakistan expects similar approach from other countries. As regards blaming Pakistan, it is not a good approach to blame every terrorist attack on Pakistan right on the onset of the event. Pakistan expects that thorough investigations should be conducted before any finger pointing. Blowing off of a smugglers’ boat by Indian coast guards in December 2014 is the latest example the way India jumps the gun.

Another important issue between the two countries is right of self-determination by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are larger in number than 123 currently independent nations and have a defined historical identity. They are, at present, engaged in a massive, indigenous and non violent struggle to win their freedom from the foreign occupation of their land. Relevance of the principle of self-determination to the specific case of Jammu and Kashmir has been, time and again, recognized by the United Nations. It was upheld equally by India and Pakistan when the Kashmir dispute was brought before the UN Security Council by India. The two countries entered into an agreement to allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right of self-determination under impartial auspices and in conditions free from coercion from either side.

Envoys from India and Pakistan agreed to “narrow differences” and find common ground, both Jaishankar and, Aizaz Chaudhry, stressed the need to work together; but there was no decision on whether the meeting would result in future negotiations. Indian Foreign Secretary’s two-day visit marked the first high-level meeting between India and Pakistan since talks were disrupted by India last year. “We engaged on each other’s concerns and interests in an open manner. We agreed to work together to find common ground and narrow differences,” Jaishankar said. “The overall tone of the meeting was positive…We need to make a concerted effort to resolve this dispute,” he said. further Jaishankar stated that Pakistan will be the next Chairman of the SAARC and India wants to see the forum as successful. He also met Pakistani Prime Minister and delivered a letter from Prime Minster Narendra Modi; both sides were tight-lipped about the contents of Modi’s letter, sources said it focused on the need to rebuild peaceful, friendly ties between the two nations by removing trust deficit. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement that both countries need to start a new chapter in their relationship.The visit of the senior Indian diplomat is seen in Pakistan as a move to revive the stalled “Composite Dialogue” process between the two neighbours. India is also hoping to revive regular contacts between the border security forces on both sides to ensure peace on the border. A BSF-Pak Rangers consultation mechanism may be restarted, as well as other conversations. “We agreed that ensuring peace and tranquility on the border was vital,” Jaishankar said. Pakistan also sought to keep the focus on Kashmir in the talks.

India wants to replicate the China border template with Pakistan. That is, intensify interactions between security forces and even DGMOs that would bring in a more peaceful border. The firing on the border, the Indian government has concluded, is proving to be a big hindrance to normalizing bilateral ties, and that 2003 ceasefire arrangement has been one of the biggest confidence building measures in operation. This ceasefire has unraveled since early 2013 with regular provocative firing by India, extending from the LOC to the international boundary. One of the first things that India wants to restore could be cross-LOC CBMs and agree to opening up more roads like the Kargil-Skardu, more border trade and more popular contacts. With a BJP-PDP government in operation in Jammu & Kashmir, there is greater incentive for India now to quieten the border.

A second message Jaishankar brought with him to Pakistan concerned SAARC, which is a personal imperative of the Modi. “I conveyed the expectations of our leadership on SAARC and their determination to forge a cooperative relationship with all our neighbours. We discussed ideas and initiatives to take SAARC forward. Pakistan will be the next SAARC Chair and India would like to work with Pakistan to help SAARC achieve its potential.” India has conveyed to Pakistan that connectivity and trade would be implemented in the SAARC region, even if Pakistan chose to stay away. India is pushing the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-grouping to clear hurdles to connectivity between these four countries to pressurize Pakistan. Modi will make the pledges during a visit to Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles. New Delhi is hoping to tie the islands into a closer security embrace. “India has a role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region,” said a defence official involved in preparations for Modi’s trip.

India is well on its way for implementing two-pronged strategy to squeeze Pakistan. Modi wants to bypass Pakistan within SAARC and create conditions that Pakistan softens its stance on core issues like Kashmir and provision of trade openings to India towards West and Central Asia without any reciprocal concessions.

 

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Dynamics of FATF listing

Pakistan Focus Analysis. Indo-US anti-Pakistan nexus is so very obvious, both have in-chorus expressed their joy on Pakistan’s placement on grey list. Indian Express has reported that “India, US are one in saying Pakistan deserved to be demoted to anti-terror funding group's 'grey list’”. "India welcomes the decision of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan in its Compliance Document (grey list) for ICRG [International Cooperation review Group] monitoring," said India's ministry of external affairs. And; "outstanding counterterrorism deficiencies consistently raised by the Financial Action Task Force and [Pakistan] needs to take actions, including on the raising and moving of funds of UN-designated terrorist groups, a top US official said to news agency PTI”. Decision is politically motivated and is part of American strategy to pressurise Pakistan to settle some other scores. Pakistan has been placed among the jurisdictions (states) with strategic deficiencies: Ethiopia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen. FATF has called upon these states to complete implementation of the action plans expeditiously and within the proposed timeframes, vowing to closely monitor the implementation. It was also agreed in February Plenary that an Action Plan would be negotiated between Pakistan and FATF members by June. This has been done. The FATF has formally placed Pakistan on the grey list due to ‘strategic deficiencies’ in its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regime. The decision came despite Pakistan had demonstrated reasonable progress in three out of four major areas of FATF concerns. Pakistan’s team led by Finance Minister apprised the plenary about measures that Pakistan had taken to stop money laundering and strangling the terror financing. In prevailing World Order, nothing works better than American pressures. During February plenary, the US and the UK went out of their way to by-pass the standard FATF procedures and jointly arm twist the FATF for nominating Pakistan for the grey list in June, regardless of its February-June period effort and progress; they were also joined by France and Germany. Pakistan has undertaken to work towards effective implementation of the Action Plan, while staying in the grey list. A similar situation took place in 2011 when Pakistan was included in the grey list and was taken out in 2015 after it successfully implemented the Action Plan. There were tall claims that Pakistan was unlikely to be placed on the grey list of the global financial watchdog as the country had made enough progress to meet international anti-money laundering and terror financing standards, such euphoric environment had been created before and during the previous FATF plenary meeting as well. There is a need to float realistic expectations before such international events. FATF identifies jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies in its two public documents: FATF Public Statement (call for action)– commonly known as black list—and Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance— nick named as grey list. It is an on-going process; these lists are updated three times a year. Interestingly, FATF does not use grey list/blacklist terminologies. The ICRG of the APG had identified four key areas of concerns: deficiencies in the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Financing regimes; cross-border illicit movement of currency by terrorist groups; progress on terrorism financing investigation and prosecution; and implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373, for curbing terror financing. ICRG report has shown that Pakistan did show progress on three out of four major areas of concerns. Cross-border smuggling of cash was the only major area where Pakistan admitted deficiencies. Maximum number of conditions – nine to be precise – take into account the concerns of the UNSC resolutions, followed by eight commitments to address concerns regarding terrorism financing prosecution, four are about curbing currency movement across the border and five recommendations relate to improvement in the supervision mechanisms of banks and companies. Pakistan has undertaken to demonstrate that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for terrorism financing. Remember Ayan Ali case? And who protected her? Carrier is enjoying quality life abroad. Pakistan has made a “high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its Anti-money Laundering (AML)/Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies,” according to FATF announcement. The FATF said Pakistan will also be demonstrating that remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions. “It will be demonstrating that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services.” During the intervening period Pakistan government did strenuous hard work to plug the gaps. Ambitious laws were enacted. Finance ministry improved institutional mechanisms for handling anti-money laundering and countering financing terrorism issues. Coordination between the State Bank, Banking institutions and law enforcement agencies had also been strengthened to curb money laundering and terror financing. Pakistan has recently addressed issues raised by the FATF through a tax amnesty scheme, while Securities and Exchange Commission has issued Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations (2018). National Security Committee has also reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the FATF. Through its Action Plan, Pakistan has demonstrated to the world that it was ready to go an extra mile to curb money laundering. Pakistan will have to deliver on the first goal by January next year and complete all the 26 actions by September 2019,” it is indeed a tight schedule. One wonders whether Pakistan has requisite mechanisms in place to implement and steer such an ambitious plan. An expert assessment has it that though Pakistan’s inclusion in the grey list may hurt its image in the international landscape, its economic impact will not be as severe as being portrayed. This is because when Pakistan was part of the grey list/blacklist (2008-2015), it successfully approached multilateral bodies, floated international bonds and had international trades. Hopefully Pakistan will be able to come out or grey list in September 2019, however it must follow consistent economic policies to remain out of such trouble spots. Caretaker government would do a great service by forming a national commission to identify and punish all those responsible for letting the things reverse back after Pakistan’s previous journey to blacklist was over.

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