There was a flurry of confusion, panic and fake news yesterday, as nobody, from our journalists to our government officials, seemed to know whether Pakistan had been placed in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or not. It is a revealing fact about our level of confidence in our foreign policy that there was such divisive reporting, and is perhaps why Pakistan is in this unfortunate situation in the first place.

Thankfully, it seems like the worst case scenario has been avoided. After false reports from India and a Reuters article that Pakistan was on the list, the facts were only cleared up after the official public statement by the international watchdog announcing the outcomes of its plenary session held in Paris this week, where Pakistan did not feature on the list of countries with strategic deficiencies posing a risk to the international financial system.

However, Pakistan has not escaped from the FATF meeting unscathed. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has stated in a twitter statement the country had earned a three-month reprieve. Pakistan is now set to be ‘grey listed’ by FATF; for three months, the government will work with FATF to build an “action plan” to plug the deficiencies identified by the watchdog, which will be put up for approval by consensus in the June session.

This is not a victory. US’s goal in pushing for Pakistan to be blacklisted was to embarrass us, and embarrassment it has indeed brought. The only opposing country, Turkey, may have come through for us, but it is a failure on our part that we had to force our allies, like China and Saudi Arabia, in such an uncomfortable position to defend Pakistan every time. This is a time to reflect upon the flawed policies which brought us to such a brink of panic. The mainstreaming of terrorist and extremist factions, to the point that we tolerated their large participation in our election process, is what has put us in this situation today.

It is time that Pakistan actively pushes against these liabilities that are causing us so much damage. The actions Pakistan took this last month, such as promulgating an ordinance banning Hafiz Saeed and his party, as a last-minute attempt to evade the FATF list, must be doubled down and implemented. Ahsan Iqbal’s speech today, stating that the government will expedite steps to curb terror financing and money laundering, is a sign in the hopeful direction.