Powerful G7, India and Afghanistan will lead FATF’s Economic Sanctions against Pakistan

Yesterday the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), led by the G7 countries, put Pakistan on a three-month warning regarding terrorist financing. If Pakistan fails to comply with necessary actions against terrorism, it could become a virtual no-go zone for international banking. Last week, an Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs official threatened to seek U.N. sanctions against Pakistan for supporting Taliban terrorists. India should also seek U.N. sanctions for Pakistan’s support of terrorists targeting India, including in Kashmir. Such sanctions should be pursued immediately, with the help of G7 countries , and especially major importers from Pakistan: the U.S., U.K., and Germany. China and Russia will oppose sanctions, but should understand that standing in the way could make them complicit in terrorism.

The sanctions should target businesses associated with the elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services that support terrorism. Targeted sanctions will maximize the likelihood of success, and decrease their impact on innocent Pakistani citizens, who are also victims of Pakistan-based terrorism. While terrorist attack fatalities in Pakistan have decreased since 2013 (see graph below), they have increased in Afghanistan over the same period. From this data, it appears that Pakistan-based terrorists are now redirecting their efforts to Afghanistan, which is seen as ripe for the picking as NATO withdraws.

The biggest democratic economies should not only support targeted sanctions to protect Afghanistan and India, but lead in pushing for their adoption. India and Afghanistan will not have the power at the U.N. to get the votes necessary to impose international sanctions. Nor will their market power allow them to impose unilateral sanctions. However, the top democratic importers from Pakistan will be particularly persuasive, and should lend sanctions their full logistic and diplomatic support at the United Nations. Democratic importers from Pakistan, in order of magnitude, are the United States, Germany, the U.K., Afghanistan, France, Spain, and Italy. As importers, these countries will have the best chance for influence on Pakistani businesses, which will in turn have the greatest influence on Pakistan’s military and intelligence services.

Pakistan’s most important ally and authoritarian importer, China, will oppose sanctions. Russia, which supports the Taliban, will also oppose sanctions. But these authoritarian countries can only prove their commitment to counter global terrorism by taking tough measures: naming Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, and economically sanctioning Pakistani companies linked to military and intelligence services. Failing to do so risks obstructionism and categorization as state-sponsors of terrorism themselves.

In an age of nuclear proliferation and mass refugee flows caused by terrorism, there must be a new principle of zero-tolerance for state-sponsored terrorism. This includes what I would call “mediate state-sponsored terrorism” designed for plausible deniability by being once- or twice-removed from terrorist violence. Democratic and peaceful states must demonstrate to terrorists and their state sponsors: there will be no more business as usual.

Pakistan-supported terrorism against civilians in Afghanistan puts into question why the U.S. plans to triple its $300 million of foreign aid to Pakistan in 2016 (which was not disbursed because Pakistan failed to act against the Haqqani terrorists), to $900 million in 2017 ($450 million of which is contingent on actions against the Haqqani).

As some politicians in Pakistan have noted, these conditional sums in the low hundreds of millions of dollars are “peanuts.” They are right, especially when compared to China’s $51 billion of promised investment into a trade corridor through Pakistan. The trade route is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It runs through a disputed area with India, which will cement the China-Pakistan alliance against the U.S.-India alliance. CPEC should be opposed because it will increase the instability of South Asia.

China gives diplomatic support to the Taliban, to which the Haqqani and Pakistani security establishment are closely linked. So if China, which is in military competition with the U.S. and India, tells Pakistan to leave the Taliban and Haqqani in place, Pakistan will likely do that and forego the $450 million in contingent aid from the U.S. This contingent aid, therefore, acts to obscure the fact that the U.S. is doing little to nothing to stop Pakistan from supporting terror.

China has a record of breaking its promises, and much of the CPEC trade corridor will likely be built by Chinese, not Pakistani, companies. So the $51 billion in as yet unfulfilled infrastructure promises of tomorrow should seem less of a benefit to the Pakistani military and intelligence interests that support terrorism, than avoiding the sanctions today. Plus, if the $51 billion comes through over the next few years, it will likely do so regardless of Pakistan’s actions now on terrorism. China’s economic and geopolitical calculations will eventually rise above and beyond its diplomatic support to the Taliban. So, Pakistan should today listen to commercial interest groups linked to the military and intelligence services that could be influenced by targeted sanctions by democratic importers.

Pakistan’s top importers are the U.S ($3.6 billion), China ($2.8 billion), Afghanistan ($2.2 billion), Germany ($1.7 billion) and the U.K. ($1.7 billion). China is clearly outweighed when considering Pakistan’s exports, so the U.S., U.K., Germany, and allies should be able to get the requisite influence in Pakistan with an unconditional drop of Pakistan aid in 2017 and 2018 to $0, paired with targeted economic sanctions against business interests of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services. Waiting until China builds its CPEC trade corridor, and becomes Pakistan’s biggest importer, will only cement China-Pakistan ties further, and make stopping Pakistan’s terrorism that much more difficult.

The U.S. must stop supporting Pakistan, which is a state sponsor of terrorism. Tripling foreign assistance at this time sends the wrong message. The right message can only be sent with targeted economic sanctions by the U.N., or coordinated unilateral sanctions by leading importers like the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Winning against terrorism in Afghanistan, and protecting democratic India, depends on strong economic sanctions today.

 

 

 

 

Source:- Paksitan Today

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