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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
EditorialNever-ending fearful FATF story

Never-ending fearful FATF story

Though Pakistan is just “one step away” from being upgraded to the white list of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “grey list” until the watchdog’s team conduct an on-site visit to Islamabad in July, sword will be hanging on our head till the force meets in October and makes a formal announcement. Till October, Pakistan will be on the grey list even though the monetary watchdog has admitted that Pakistan has met all their terms and action plan items, which were imposed on Islamabad in 2018. Since 2018 when Pakistan was put on the grey list, till now, the state using all government machinery has worked with an unquestioned determination to meet the terms. This took a lot of time, as the government moved the parliament several times to do the required legislation, and despite having a numerical poverty, managed to get bills passed with the full support of the opposition. In successive FATF meetings, Pakistan faced a heavily politicized forum, led and influenced by India, and every time, it was slapped with strict warnings, and threats to move Pakistan to the strict watch list of blacklist. Pakistan with the help of friends like Turkey, China, and Malaysia frustrated Indian efforts and never hit the hostile lists. In the June meeting, the Pakistani delegation presented its progress report on the two terms, given to it last year, to which the meeting participants were satisfied with.

State Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told a press conference on Saturday that “I am pleased to announce that Pakistan has completed the entire seven-point action plan a year ahead of the given timelines”. The FATF plan has been a blessing in disguise for the government, as it brought an opportunity for us to reform our banking and monetary transaction systems. It helped the government receive huge remittances. The country has now comprehensive reformed anti-money laundering and counter terror financing laws. Once off the list, Pakistan will have its financial benefits too, as the foreign investors’ confidence will bring out a positive change in the economic landscape of the country. The debate of credit is useless as it is the team of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government, which steered the country out of the grey list mania. The incumbent government should not shy away from giving credit when the credit is due. Hina Rabbani Khar said they are “willing to share credit with whoever wants a piece of the pie”. This is quite an unbecoming comment; she should have grace to follow the footstep of her senior minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who openly defended Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow. But politics is heartless sometimes.

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