Every February, June, and October, when the next FATF meeting is to take place, the government of Pakistan tries its best to simply do one thing: make enough noise, seek enough support (from China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia) so that the country does not go on the blacklist.
Instead of cracking down on all terrorist entities and demonstrating to its neighbors and the world that Pakistan has really and truly moved on, all the state tries to do is make sure it does the bare minimum (place some groups or entities on list, show that it has taken some action on illicit financing, and seek more time. This February again, the same happened.
Apparently, Islamabad-Rawalpindi are hoping to exhaust the global community – that if we keep doing a little bit, sooner or later, in a few years or a decade, the global community will give up and remove Pakistan from the grey list. That may have been true of the past, but as of now it appears that that the world wants complete compliance with FATF’s exacting standards.
This was evident in the FATF president’s statement that “the watchdog will verify the completed actions and members of the task force would vote (to remove Pakistan from the list of countries on the grey list) “as soon as they improve their investigations and prosecutions of all groups and entities financing terrorists and their associates and show [that] penalties by courts are effective” underlines this new reality.” Maybe what Pakistan’s leaders, both civilian and military, should understand is that it is time to move away from ‘pick and choose compliance’ to ‘complete compliance.’ The benefits will be immense, not just diplomatic but also economic.