An editorial on October 8th 2019 in this paper had predicted that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would retain Pakistan in the grey list. And the prediction came true, as the anti-graft body had decided to keep Pakistan in the grey list till February 2020. What was surprising was the optimism of the local authorities after the evaluation report of Asia Pacific Group (APG). The authorities, while talking to the media, gave the impression that Pakistan would get out of the grey list. But the optimism soon faded, as the international body observed that the country did not meet 22 out of 27 targets. Pakistan has only four more months to comply with FATF’s requirements against terror financing (TF).

In one after another editorial, this newspaper has suggested to the authorities to develop an understanding of FATF’s framework and operations. But the advice, it seems, has always fallen on deaf ears. The body’s remarks about Pakistan available on its website reads, “the FATF again expresses serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its TF risks, including remaining deficiencies in demonstrating a sufficient understanding of Pakistan’s transnational TF risks, and more broadly, Pakistan’s failure to complete its action plan in line with the agreed timelines and in light of the TF risks emanating from the jurisdiction.” Serious comments!

Despite warnings of the anti-graft body and the constant pleas made in this paper, the authorities relied more on reassuring words rather than actions. Now the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar has claimed that the country would come out of the grey list in 2020. On the one hand, the FATF’s remarks show the unsatisfactory progress of Pakistan. On the other hand, the political leadership of the country is living in idealism. It is about time for the political leaders of the country to step up their efforts to take the country out of the grey list.