Pakistan has made “some progress” on commitments at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) but the country “needs to do more”, Gareth Bayley, the UK Prime Minister’s special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said on Thursday.
On the upcoming FATF meeting next month, he said that “all options are on the table”.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Bayley said, “Simply put, Pakistan has made some progress on the commitments that it has undertaken and entered into, on the action plan that FATF has set with it. Yet, it knows, and we know, that it needs to do more; it needs to make a step change in its commitments. And we engage the Pakistani system at all levels – right to the top – on the importance of combating terrorism and extremism.”
Bayley, who is here to attend the Raisina Dialogue, said, “We do not find the task light. We don’t take it lightly. We judge, however, that we have to have these conversations in order to effect change.”
“As for the coming discussions at FATF, about Pakistan, at this stage, all options are on the table. And where we come out will depend on the evidence that Pakistan has submitted and continues to submit,” he said.
Stating that the progress is of a limited nature and “more needs to be done”, Bayley said, “A step change is required and the Prime Minister of Pakistan knows very well, and indeed agrees with what needs to be done for his country…his own country’s security against terrorists.”
Asked whether Pakistan has done enough, Bayley said, “There’s always more to do.”
In response to questions on whether it is prudent engage with the Taliban, especially when India has been reticent, he said, “Each country must make their own determination. The engagement with the Taliban is an increasingly public affair. The Taliban themselves like to try to ensure that is so. And before too long, this will become a new normal, because we expect that Talibs will be at the negotiating table on a condition of course; that they respect and agree that the aim should be a political settlement of our goal, not exclusive.
“Is it prudent to be in contact with them? I think the question at some point will be, is it prudent not to have contact with him? But it will become quite a normal matter. It’s for India to answer when it wants to have that.”
He also said that the last 18 years has been a story of committed support to a lasting Afghanistan political settlement, but only in the last two years, “we have seen a really dynamic forward movement in the process. But even so, we are still at an early stage. And specifically, we see that signs of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban in the security and counterterrorism space.”
“But that’s only a step — the step that needs to come urgently is the intra-Afghan negotiation. That’s the price and the US Taliban talks are necessary, but not sufficient for what we all desire, which is…(an) Afghan-led peace process leading to the Afghan-owned settlement.”
“President (Ashraf) Ghani has consistently made clear that he is committed to a peace process without preconditions and the emphasis on that side must be on building a wide, an authentic Afghan negotiating team. Because that negotiation, we expect and hope, is very close,” he said.
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