Pakistan to Come Out of FATF’s Grey List

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Ali Anwar

There is no phrase of ‘Absolutely Not’ in the dictionary of diplomacy as it doesn’t work at the global level

After a very long time, Pakistan got some good news. It came from Germany where the meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was held. Pakistan is very close to coming out of the grey list of FATF as we have met all 34 points. The watchdog will send a delegation to Pakistan in October to verify the implementation of all the clauses and then we’ll be removed from the grey list. It is really a good sign that the President of FATF Dr Marcus Pleyer also acknowledged the reforms implemented by Pakistan.
It is not a matter of months that we are close to achieving this milestone. Pakistan was placed on the grey list in 2018 and it took four long years to come out of it due to some smart strategic and diplomatic moves. There is a proverb that victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan. It is what exactly we saw in this very case. The former ruling party PTI didn’t waste a moment and started taking credit for it soon after the news came from Berlin. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated his former minister Hammad Azhar on this achievement. The story doesn’t end here. The colleagues of Hammad Azhar including former Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen and Dr Shireen Mazari also gave credit to him.
The felicitations continued as the ruling PML-N also started taking its credit. Then, we saw the PPP that holds the portfolio of the Foreign Ministry these days. Minister for State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar congratulated the nation on this victory. Yes, it is true that everyone has their contribution to this achievement. We should not forget the reality that a special cell was established at GHQ by the Pakistan Army that played the key role in steering Pakistan out of this quagmire.
The institution of the Pakistan Army always takes decisions in the national interest of the country and so was the case in this episode. The core cell established at GHQ worked day and night to pull Pakistan out of this grey list of FATF. Some legislation was also required by the parliament to come out of the list. It is now on the record as senior government minister Kh Asif has also confirmed that the meetings between the treasury and opposition used to be held at the official residence of the then-Speaker National Assembly. The political situation was very hostile at that time as Imran Khan was the Prime Minister and PML-N was in the opposition. It was the Pakistan Army that took the driving seat and convinced both the government and the opposition to sit at the table in the national interest of the country. It was the need of the hour that the government and opposition should set aside their differences while paving the way for smooth legislation in the parliament related to the FATF. The legislation regarding the clauses of FATF was possible due to the hectic efforts of the Pakistan Army just in the national interest. Then, our friendly countries also played an important role in convincing the watchdog to remove Pakistan from the grey list and our diplomatic efforts remained successful.
We shouldn’t forget that there are some other factors too that paved the way for achieving this milestone. We should keep one thing in mind that some geopolitical reasons will also be responsible when Pakistan will be out of this grey list of FATF. The western world led by the US was in shock when Russia invaded Ukraine. It all happened soon after the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan. It was also likely that Pakistan might land on the black list of FATF rather than the grey list if we opt to side with Russia at that time. It is a matter of fact that FATF, IMF, grants, loans and all such tools are meant to have global dominance. The stance of Pakistan after the invasion of Ukraine was in the national interest as we need both China and US at the same time geopolitically. The US was a little bit down after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US needs allies in this while scenario where there is an explosion in the Middle East and the South China Sea. India is no more required as an ally after taking sides with Russia. So, cornering Pakistan is not in western interests at all. The excellent diplomacy by Pakistan in recent time has also paved the way in coming out of the grey list of FATF. There is no phrase of ‘Absolutely Not’ in the dictionary of diplomacy as it doesn’t work at the global level. A diplomat cannot say ‘Absolutely Not’. If he says it then he is no more a diplomat.
So, it can rightly be claimed that the military establishment played the leading role in coming out of the grey list of FATF. The Pakistan Army ensured the compliance of all the FATF points while also taking important decisions in the national interest of the country. All the institutions including civil and military leadership should be lauded when Pakistan comes out of the grey list of FATF finally. At this critical juncture, when we are desperately looking for a deal with the IMF, the FATF news is a fresh air for Pakistan. Hope, it gets the smooth sailing till October when the delegation of FATF visits Pakistan