Going grey: on Pakistan and the FATF watch list
Will being put on the watch list force Pakistan to withdraw state support to terror groups?
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that monitors countries on action taken against terror-financing and money-laundering has decided to place Pakistan back on its watch list, or “greylist”, from June. The decision is both appropriate and overdue, given Pakistan’s blatant (ऊधमी) violation of its obligations (कार्य) to crack down on groups banned by the Security Council 1267 sanctions committee that monitors groups affiliated to the Taliban (which originally included al-Qaeda affiliated groups), such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network. Their leaders like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar continue to hold public rallies and freely garner (एकत्र करना) support and donations. In the process, both the LeT and JeM, which continue to praise and claim credit for terror attacks in India, have grown their bases in Pakistan, with fortress-like headquarters in Muridke and Bahawalpur that the authorities turn a blind eye to. By doing this, successive Pakistani governments have jeopardised (खतरे में डालना) ties with India, and shown disregard for the outcry (चिल्लाना) against terrorism worldwide. One violation was a Pakistani court’s bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, LeT operational commander and a key planner of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Under the 1267 sanctions ruling, banned entities can get no funds, yet Lakhvi received the bail amount, and the authorities have since lost track of him.
It is surprising, then, that the first round of talks of the International Cooperation Review Group that makes its recommendations to the FATF plenary (परिपूर्ण) failed to reach the consensus (अनुकूलता) needed to list Pakistan, despite a formidable (साहस तोड़ने वाला) team of the U.S., U.K., France and Germany proposing the resolution against it. That the initial support for Pakistan came from China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is cause for concern in New Delhi, given the recent diplomatic outreach by India. Equally significant, however, is China’s turnaround in the plenary session two days later, when it dropped objections to the resolution, indicating that its support for Pakistan is negotiable and not set in stone. The FATF listing will not miraculously change Pakistan’s behaviour, and this is not the first time it has been listed as a country with “strategic deficiencies” in countering terror-financing and money-laundering. However, if the greylisting comes as part of a concerted campaign to hold Pakistan accountable, and pressure is ratcheted up with financial strictures (निंदा) on its banks and businesses and targeted sanctions imposed against specific law enforcement and intelligence officials, it may yet bear fruit. The hope is that such sanctions will persuade (उकसाना) Pakistan to stop state support for these terror groups and become a responsible player on the global stage and a responsive neighbour.
- Blatant: engaging in or marked by loud and insistent cries especially of protest
Synonyms: caterwauling, clamant, clamorous, obstreperous, squawking, vociferant, vociferating, vociferous, yawping (or yauping), yowling
Antonyms: noiseless, quiet, silent, soundless, still
- Obligations: something one must do because of prior agreement
Synonyms: burden, charge, commitment, duty, imperative, incumbency, need, office, responsibility
Antonyms: alternative, choice, option, pick, preference, selection, discharge, ease, exemption, release, relief, waiver
- Garner: to bring together in one body or place
Synonyms: accumulate, amass, assemble, bulk (up), collect, concentrate, congregate, corral, gather, group, lump, pick up, round up
Antonyms: dispel, disperse, dissipate, scatter
- Jeopardised: to place in danger
Synonyms: adventure, compromise, endanger, gamble (with), hazard, imperil, menace, peril, risk, venture
Antonyms: guard, protect, shelter, shield
- Outcry: a violent shouting
Synonyms: clamor, howl, hubbub, hue and cry, hullabaloo, noise, roar, tumult, uproar, vociferation
Antonyms: mumble, mumbling, murmur, murmuring, rumble, rumbling
- Plenary: not lacking any part or member that properly belongs to it
Synonyms: compleat, complete, comprehensive, entire, full, grand, intact, integral, perfect, total, whole
Antonyms: imperfect, incomplete, partial
- Consensus: the state of being of one opinion about something
Synonyms: accord, agreement, concurrence, concurrency, unanimity, unison
Antonyms: conflict, disagreement
- Formidable: requiring considerable physical or mental effort
Synonyms: arduous, Augean, backbreaking, challenging, demanding, difficult, effortful, exacting, grueling (or gruelling), hard, heavy, herculean, killer, laborious, moiling, murderous, rigorous, rough, rugged, severe, stiff, strenuous, sweaty, tall, testing, toilsome, tough, uphill
Antonyms: cheap, easy, effortless, facile, light, mindless, simple, soft, undemanding
- Strictures: an often public or formal expression of disapproval
Synonyms: censure, commination, condemnation, denunciation, excoriation, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reproof, riot act
Antonyms: citation, commendation, endorsement (also indorsement)
- Persuade: to cause (someone) to agree with a belief or course of action by using arguments or earnest requests
Synonyms: argue, bring, bring around, convert, convince, gain, get, induce, move, prevail (on or upon), satisfy, talk (into), win (over)
Anotnyms: deter, discourage, dissuade, unsell
No discrimination: on health insurance in India
Insurance law must be revisited to remove unreasonable exclusions in health policies
The Delhi High Court’s order striking down a discriminatory exclusion (छोड़ाव) clause in a health insurance policy, and upholding the claim of a patient, should have the broader effect of eliminating similar exclusions. The case involved a rare heart condition based on which United India Insurance Company rejected the claim, viewing it as a manifestation (प्रदर्शन) of a genetic disorder. By its very nature, such exclusion defeats the purpose of the health policy. But then, policies sold to individuals invariably contain a plethora (प्रचुरता) of exclusions in the fine print, diminishing their practical value. They are heavily weighted in favour of the insurer. The court has struck a blow for the rights of the individual by holding that exclusion of the kind invoked does not just involve a contractual issue between the two sides, but the basic right to health flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution. It has gone further to interpret the right to health as being meaningful only with the right to health care, and by extension, health insurance required to access it. This is good advice. The Centre, which has committed itself to a universal National Health Protection Scheme, and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority would do well to heed it. They must review all the policies, and eliminate unreasonable exclusionary clauses designed to avoid claims.
Several studies have pointed out that health insurance in India suffers from lack of scale, covering only about 29% of the households surveyed under the National Family Health Survey-4, that too in a limited way. The health-care system also lacks regulation of costs. There is asymmetry (असममिति) of information, with the insured member unable to assess the real scope of the policy or negotiate the terms with the provider. Questions such as these led to the enactment of a new health-care law in the United States during the Barack Obama administration, whereby strict obligations were placed on insurers and unreasonable exclusions removed. India’s health insurance and hospital sectors closely follow the American pattern, and are in need of strong regulation. This is necessary to define costs, curb frauds and empower patients. As the Delhi High Court has observed, exclusions cannot be unreasonable or based on a broad parameter such as genetic disposition (प्रवृत्ति) or heritage. Insurance law has to be revisited to also ensure that there is a guaranteed renewal of policies, that age is no bar for entry, and pre-existing conditions are uniformly covered. Problems of exclusion will be eliminated if the payer-insurer is the state, the financing is done through public taxes, and coverage is universal. Given its stated intent (अभिप्राय) to ensure financial protection against high health costs, India should adopt such a course. The short-term priority is to remove discriminatory clauses in policies and expand coverage to as many people as possible.
- Exclusion: An item or eventuality specifically not covered by an insurance policy or other contract.
- Manifestation: a visible representation of something abstract (as a quality)
Synonyms: abstract, avatar, embodier, embodiment, epitome, externalization, genius, icon (also ikon), image, incarnation, incorporation, objectification, personification, personifier
- Plethora: an amount or supply more than sufficient to meet one’s needs
Synonyms: abundance, cornucopia, feast, plenitude, plentitude, plenty, superabundance, wealth
Anotnyms: deficiency, inadequacy, insufficiency, undersupply
- Asymmetry: Lack of equality or equivalence between parts or aspects of something; lack of symmetry.
- Disposition: the way objects in space or events in time are arranged or follow one another
Synonyms: arrangement, array, disposal, distribution, order, ordering, sequence, setup
Antonyms: confusion, disorder, disorganization, disruption, upset
- Intent: fully committed to achieving a goal
Synonyms: bent (on or upon), bound, decisive, determined, do-or-die, firm, hell-bent (on or upon), out, purposeful, resolute, resolved, set, single-minded
Antonyms: faltering, hesitant, indecisive, irresolute, undetermined, unresolved, vacillating, wavering, weak-kneed