The three-day meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) discussing the recent International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) report on Pakistan’s compliance with the financial watchdog’s recommendations is set to conclude later today (Friday). Pakistan, and the world by extension, will be paying close attention to the press conference to be held at the end of the plenary on 23 October at 14:00 GMT.

Will Pakistan improve its rating or maintain status quo remains to be seen.

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. This significant improvement will allow Pakistan to maintain its status at the very least, and receive further time to enact all required changes.

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

These developments would 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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