THE Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its recent meeting once again decided to keep Pakistan in its ‘grey list’ for another six months. The IMF and the World Bank are usually reluctant to give loans to countries that are on the list. Loans in the pipeline can also be stopped, or more stringent measures can be imposed on Pakistan by donor agencies because of the FATF decision.
Efforts are being made by the government for the last two years to get out of this list, but more concrete steps are perhaps required for a cash-strapped country like Pakistan to show the world that we are not a country involved in terror financing and money-laundering.
In my opinion, no matter how hard we try, it will be difficult to satisfy international financial institutions controlled by the United States.
We are always unable to get the required number of votes, and it is not surprising to hear or watch our ministers stressing the mere fact that FATF had not blacklisted Pakistan.
There is, however, a silver lining in the current scenario. The only option we now have is to concentrate on the economic development of our own country. Once that is achieved, being in the grey list will be meaningless.
Cdre (r) Sajjad Ali Shah Bokhari
The FATF’s decision to put Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ for a further period of four months shows that tough times are ahead for Pakistan on the financial front. Pakistan has been on this list since June 2018.
FATF has set international standards aiming at preventing illegal activities that cause harm to societies. However, it has shown extraordinary strictness towards Pakistan as our country is still on its ‘grey list’ despite efforts by the government and financial institutions to pull the country out of it.
According to FATF, Pakistan has achieved 21 targets out of 27 that were identified by the body so far. The four-month extension is meant to achieve the remaining six targets. As we have been working to meet these targets for some time, it is hoped that we will do better in the next plenary session of the watchdog.
Meanwhile, in the present circumstances, and as a result of the FATF pressure, it has become almost impossible for a person in Pakistan to simply open a bank account because of conditions that are not possible to meet.
The authorities should also look into this matter and give some relief to the people.