Tuesday is the day when the federal budget for the financial year 2020 is expected to be announced. However the economic document is the last document to be considered in the eyes of the media, the media watchers or precisely anyone observing the political and economic trends in Pakistan. Not Zardari of Altaf
The arrest of PPP chairman Zardari on Monday and the arrest of PML N leaders on Tuesday followed by the arrest of MQM leader Altaf Husain in United Kingdom apparently look like developments having deep imprint on the politics in Pakistan. No doubt their political impact cannot be emphasized more. However the timing of the arrests and the issue of money laundering as one of the major charges for both the political groups, undoubtedly points to another issue, which is a matter of life and death for the Pakistani establishment; the gray list of FATF Financial task Force.
With the June meeting around the corner with G20 leadership expected to deliberate on the issue among many other ones; the fact that Pakistan arch rival India is also part of the G20; has given the Pakistani political and military establishment sleepless nights to say the least.
The arrests made in Pakistan and United Kingdom, with full backing of the military establishment in Pakistan and tactic understanding of the British authorities in United Kingdom, say more than a statement.
The Pakistani authorities through the action are sending out a message that they are not sparing anyone when it comes to curbing money laundering and compliance of the FATF charter.
The arrests have been made to convince the next meeting that Pakistan has done the needful and it is time to remove Pakistan from the watch list. Here it may be pointed out that the military and the political establishment had that FATF on their nerves and they were leaving no stone unturned to comply.
While the political implications of these arrests will be evident in coming days and weeks, for the time being it is FATF.