The conclusion of FATF’s plenary sessions in Berlin brought the expected good news; Pakistan has complied with all of the action points needed to get off the grey list—countries with a risk of money laundering and terror financing, but committed to comply with international standards. A procedural on-site visit is to follow, after which we will officially be off the grey list. After October, we will no longer be under intense scrutiny in terms of action on anti-terror financing and anti-money laundering directives.
Our third spell on the list lasted for four years after being placed on it in 2018, and now that we have taken the necessary steps, it is hoped that this is the last time we have to face scrutiny of this sort over not taking enough action to cut financial channels for criminal actions.
The 27 points of policy and implementation were robust in themselves, but it is clear that one of the most significant points going forward will continue to be the prosecution of terror suspects and this is something that we will have to be wary of going forward. This means that diplomatic outreach is just as important as the legwork involved in implementation and action. We must not let the Indian state determine the narrative on terror and establish ourselves as a peaceful broker in the region, one that stands against all forms of terror and injustice.
It is important to remember that our removal from the grey list does not imply that all of our economic woes have been addressed; far from it. The impact of this change in status will be gradual and will translate into more avenues for foreign direct investment (FDI) and potential injections into the economy as investors and entrepreneurs would not have to worry about the reputational (or any other) risk of conducting business in Pakistan. But this is not something that will result in an automatic improvement of living standards or the general public.
It is now down to the government to make full use in the upcoming change in status. The government can engage the business community here at home to work with foreign partners for development of both private and public investment opportunities. We have to create the room to grow and facilitate growth ourselves, only then can FDI actually translate into benefits for the whole populace and the country as a whole.