PAKISTAN got a reprieve and had a chance to avoid its inclusion in the so-called grey list of the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) but the evitable has happened due to various factors and reasons. In the latest meeting of the FATF in Paris, Pakistan is reported to have presented a strong case enunciating the measures taken so far to stem money laundering and terror financing but apparently it failed to convince it and the country has been added to the list of countries involved in provision of assistance to terrorism. Foreign Office spokesman said on Thursday that Pakistan can be taken off the list if it implements ‘adequate’ measures but there are definitely some ifs and buts.
Since February this year, when the country was temporarily placed on the list, Pakistan took several measures in compliance with the requirements of the FATF and more are in the pipeline. It is quite obvious that the country could not focus on the issue due to internal politics, wrangling among institutions and inability of the Government to respond to the challenge in a comprehensive manner both in terms of concrete and satisfactory measures as well as lobbying on the diplomatic front and hence this diplomatic failure. Pakistan has already proscribed some groups and seized their assets but it is quite obvious that fuller compliance in a country that has become a battlefield of conflicting foreign interests is not an easy job. The country has launched a full-fledged war against terrorism and the world community too acknowledges that Pakistan has achieved successes more than combined efforts of the entire world. With this in view, cooperation and not penalization was answer but unfortunately some powerful countries chose for the latter. There would be no significant impact on the economy as the country remained in the grey list for three years from 2012 to 2015 and during that period it successfully floated international bonds, borrowed money from bilateral and multilateral donors, received remittances and conducted international trade. However, besides additional cost of transactions with the outside world, there is definitely loss of reputation involved and that is exactly what the powers that be are interested to put maximum pressure on the country to force it to toe their line. Grey-listing is also an indication of growing diplomatic isolation of the country as Pakistan failed to manage support of at least three countries out of 37, which is requirement to block such moves. And this should be a source for concern for all concerned.

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