The developments that have come out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) three-day plenary session are a mixed bag. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Pakistan has worked tremendously to bring its laws in line with FATF’s demands, we remain on the grey-list, as FATF decided that four strategic areas need to be worked on by Pakistan before it will be reviewed again in February. The positive news is that despite the grey-list, Pakistan’s massive improvements and cooperation with regards to FATF was noticed. FATF appreciated the fact that Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has now largely addressed 21 of the 27-action item list. It seems inevitable that Pakistan will be lifted out of the grey list come 2021—it is just disappointing that despite so much visible progress, it did not happen now.

It can be seen that Pakistan has made major changes to its approach towards money laundering. It has passed some very impactful laws that will help curb terror financing and illegal transmission of money. FATF needs to keep in mind that Pakistan is still a developing country, and the changes it makes in its law will take time to show in results. Members of the FATF, if they truly want to curb terror financing, should come to Pakistan’s aid to pursue accountability against such crimes, rather than keep the ever-looming threat over the country, which is more than willing to cooperate. Indeed, FATF’s decision to not require a vote on each of the clauses indicates that we are almost out of the woods.

Nevertheless, the events are just another reminder that we cannot take this matter lightly, and must continue on our official plan to comply with all the requirements of FATF, some of which include demonstrating enforcement against violation of terror financing sanctions and effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all 1267 and 1373 designated terrorists. The necessary laws are in place—now it is time to implement them. These are conditions which require time to show results—but nevertheless, the government should make it its topmost priority, asking for international help where it can.