For some years now Pakistan’s friends in Washington, London and even Beijing have been asking the powers that be to take action terrorist groups and terror financing. Islamabad- Rawalpindi, however, believed that Pakistan is so important to the global community that nothing will ever happen to this country.
We received a wakeup call this February when Pakistan was placed on the grey list of FATF but nothing was done and so four months later the FATF has decided to keep Pakistan on the grey list. This is not the first time this has happened. Pakistan was on the FATF list from 2012 to 2015 as well.
In February 2018, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — an inter-governmental body established in 1989 that “sets standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system,” placed Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ —- meaning a country that does not do enough “to counter and combat money laundering and terror financing.” While FAFT does not have the authority or power to impose sanctions on a country found non-compliant with the required standards yet being placed on an FATF list means a country will find it difficult to access funds from the international market.
According to a news story: “Presenting Pakistan’s case at the FATF talks in Paris, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the interim minister for finance and planning, apprised the watchdog of the steps the country has taken to stem money laundering and terror financing, and put up a robust case for not placing its name on the greylist. During the crucial meeting, the Akhtar-led Pakistani delegation also talked about Islamabad’s efforts against the banned outfits and various terrorist groups. The Pakistani delegation’s case indicated that the nation has been working to curb financial assistance for terrorists, made existing laws better, and ensured improved implementation of the current regulations.”
However, instead of undertaking actual actions the government preferred to argue that the reason why Pakistan was still on the grey list was solely because of the actions of the United States and India. “Speaking in light of the latest development, Azam Khan, the caretaker minister of interior affairs, said the watchdog was under pressure from the United States and India, both of which together also compelled Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and China.”
Further, akin to February, till the last-minute government sources kept arguing “that Pakistan was likely to be granted more time to implement necessary measures to be compliant with the FATF’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations, that did not turn out to be the case in the six-day meeting in the French capital that runs from June 24 through 29.”
If Pakistan’s caretaker government really wants to improve the economic situation they need to take real action that is verifiable and evident to the global community, otherwise Pakistan’s economy will go from bad to worse.