Pakistan has an “evolving counter-terrorism regime” that has to “grapple with structural impediments to achieving full compliance.” With such an evolving regime, dismantling long-established (terrorist) networks becomes a little tricky. However, the actions and steps that Pakistani authorities have taken so far show Pakistan’s sincere efforts in showing compliance to the demands by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It is no secret that Pakistani law enforcement agencies and other institutions have taken earnest actions against proscribed groups. The joint group of FATF will scrutinise Pakistan’s compliance report in its scheduled meeting at Beijing from January 21 to 24.

While the Pakistani delegation will have the opportunity to defend every point written in its progress report, Pakistan’s FATF experience underscores the political dimensions of this organisation. If the commentary by international news media is any indicator, Pakistan’s placement on FATF’s grey list is politically motivated. For instance, even when Pakistan was on the black or grey list, there was little financial pressure on the country. It received several bailouts from the IMF and generous assistance from the US. This was due to American dependence on Pakistan for counter-terrorism cooperation. It is only after the growing Indo-US partnership, especially after Trump’s election, that the FATF has been used as a means of political leverage.

Nevertheless, considering the recent thaw in the Pak US relations, Islamabad “is sure to get a reprieve,” some experts maintain. Worth noting in this regard is the visit of Senior US diplomat Amb Alice Wells, who is here since Sunday on a four-day trip for talks on bilateral and regional issues. Yet, Pakistan must argue its case properly and guard against India’s malicious diplomatic attacks. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi played his cards quite well when he demanded the US to play its role in getting Pakistan off the grey list of FATF on his recent trip to the US.

The country’s top military brass and civilian side put a lot of efforts to comply with all 27 action plans within the envisaged deadline and made good progress. The authorities are confident that the FATF will not give new action plan. At least, it can be said with certainty that there are no chances that they decide to further downgrade Pakistan and put it into blacklist. It is safe to conclude by saying FATF’s grey listing of Pakistan in isolation is not the correct way to look at the issue. The FATF’s actions against Pakistan must be placed in the larger picture of US-Pakistan relations that have had many ups and downs.