Pakistan maintains its status in the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till February 2021, after having completed 21 of the 27 points in the action plan. FATF has taken note of the significant progress made on a number of action plan items.

“To date, Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27 action items. As all action plan deadlines have expired, the FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021,” a statement by FATF read.

The three-day meeting of FATF discussing the recent International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) report on Pakistan’s compliance with the financial watchdog’s recommendations concluded today (Friday).

Official sources maintain the country has completed its legal formalities and informed the watchdog that it has managed to comply with 21 of the 27 points in the action plan; they also maintain that Pakistan has largely complied with the remaining 6 points.

Diplomatic officials estimate that Pakistan will be completely out of the list by mid-2021.

These developments come as a great set-back for India, which has been actively pushing FATF to place Pakistan on the so-called ‘black list’ – which would entail imposition of global economic sanctions currently applied only on Iran and North Korea.  

Pakistan was relegated to FATF’s grey list in June 2018; primarily through Indian efforts under their stated objective of diplomatically isolating Pakistan. India has accelerated these efforts by ramping up propaganda, misinformation, and lobbying efforts every time a FATF meeting draws close.  

This year as well, misinformation campaigns have been launched by Indian news organizations in an attempt to saturate the coverage on Pakistan’s hearing with their own negative narrative.

However, due to Pakistan’s extensive reform of its financial control regime, and with diplomatic support from China, Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries, Pakistan has managed to avoid being put on the black list.

With support from 12 of the FATF’s 39 members, Pakistan will be able to exit the list altogether. Considering the pace of Pakistan’s improvement – and its recognition by both ICRG and FATF – estimates of a mid-2021 exit seem highly plausible.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick


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