The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list until June 2021. This has been the fourth time Pakistan has been given an extension and has said to have made ‘significant progress’ but there are still ‘serious deficiencies’ in curbing terror financing.
Remaining on the grey list for such a long period has not cost us politically only. The economic costs are also enormous. According to one report, our placement on the grey list may have resulted in cumulative GDP losses of around $38 billion. This is a very huge amount.
However, it is also true that the plan that FATF handed over to Pakistan was the most rigorous that was ever given to any country. Therefore, our progress is nothing short of commendable. And Pakistan’s significant improvement on 24 points shows that we are far away from the once lingering threat of being blacklisted. Pakistan now badly needs to remove itself from the grey list so that it can move forward at its own will and with its own strategies on dealing with terrorism and financing for terrorism in order to ensure that the problem is dealt with effectively and for a long term.
It is now time to step up diplomatic efforts to make FATF appreciate Pakistan’s remarkable journey. Furthermore, Islamabad must also persuade FATF to put India under increased monitoring because of its financial assistance to anti-state actors that are destabilising the region. The diplomatic effort is also crucial. India would like to use this as a tool against Pakistan, and unfortunately, the USA, which should be helping Pakistan, is working with India on this. Pakistan’s friends, like China and Turkey, are not able to do much to persuade even themselves to support Pakistan, let alone help anyone else do so.