- FATF’s latest deadline may be its last
Pakistan has made good progress on the FATF front; fulfilling 21 conditions of the 27-point action plan put forth by the global terrorist funding and money laundering watchdog, but the country will still remain in the grey list until the remaining six conditions are fulfilled. The deadline to do this has been extended to February next year and the FATF has urged Pakistan to “move swiftly” as “all action plan deadlines have expired”, suggesting the likelihood of being downgraded into the dreaded black list if all remaining action plan points are not satisfactorily complied with before the next review meeting. Pakistan does not afford any such outcome, and therefore it must not lose the momentum that has enabled it to go from largely addressing only five points by October of last year to 21 points within 12-months, with no points left unaddressed. If Pakistan is able to deliver, the FATF will conduct an on-ground inspection to assess how well the action plan is being implemented. For that possibility, all relevant authorities and institutions must be confident in their ability to actively demonstrate that the action plan that has so far been fulfilled on paper is also being implemented realistically in real time on the ground.
There is no doubt that India has made an all-out strong diplomatic push, using its influence at the FATF, to somehow get Pakistan blacklisted. Pakistan has so far relied heavily on support from China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, which is why it has, despite making very poor progress in the initial stages, avoided being placed in the black list for almost two years. Earlier this year China sternly warned Pakistan that if it didn’t get its act together and start making better and quicker progress on the action plan, it would become difficult to continue providing support. It is therefore of paramount importance that Pakistan isn’t looking at an elapsed timeline come February, causing it to lose crucial support from allies and allowing India to succeed. The only victory here and a befitting reply to India will be coming out of the grey list and staying out by complying with the new set of protocols.