Pakistan’s economic team led by Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar, has won the first round as Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) joint group meeting in Beijing has reportedly shown satisfaction over the country’s compliance report.
As per reports, no country other than India raised tough but mostly irrelevant questions on the compliance report in Beijing, and therefore could not gather any support from the European or the American delegation.
“The Pakistani team will standby to defend its report further if required to do so today (Thursday). If the joint group of FATF demanded any further documents or annexures of any point, the Pakistani side would be ready to reply,” the FATF was informed.
To get off the FATF grey list, the country’s next challenge will be to muster diplomatic support for its efforts during the plenary meeting of the task force scheduled for February 16 in Paris.
The country requires support from three countries to avoid the blacklist and 12 votes out of 39 to come off the grey list.
For Pakistan, US’s vote will be crucial to get off the grey list. Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his recent interaction with the US President Donald Trump, has also requested him to support the country in this regard.
“If Pakistan succeeds to muster the US support, chances of getting whitelisted will be bright,” said an official source privy to the development.
While there are chances that Pakistan finally gets whitelisted, there is a third scenario that the country prolongs its stay on the grey list for another three to six months.
In October’s meeting, Pakistan was handed a 27-point agenda to comply with. Out of which, 5 to 6 instructions have been fully implemented while the country is showing significant progress in around 22 points, he said.
We are hopeful that it will get clearance in another 8 to 10 points, and with the US and EU support on our side, things are moving in the right direction.
Note that the country has been avoiding being blacklisted thanks to the diplomatic support from friendly countries, including China, Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf countries.
However, in order to get off the grey list, it requires support from more powerful countries and regions like the US and the EU. What happens next will be decided next month when the terror-financing watchdog’s preliminary meeting is convened in Paris.