The red light signaled by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) over the progress of Pakistan to limit terror financing in Pakistan is a cause for concern. Members of the FATF are of the opinion that Pakistan has demonstrated an inability to understand the financing of the seven proscribed terror organisations. This is the result of the latest review in this month to assess the performance of 14 countries having strategic deficiencies in their systems to counter money laundering and terror financing. The next review is now scheduled for June before which Pakistan has been urged to follow the ten-point agenda and mobilise all relevant authorities to not only cooperate with each other on the matter but also take swift action.

In this last couple of months, Pakistan has come a long way in terms of diplomatic stability. The ongoing diplomatic engagements with neighbouring countries and regional allies have helped Pakistan regain its relevance, especially after Pakistan’s efforts to play its part to end the war in Afghanistan. With such developments in motion, Pakistan cannot afford to be blacklisted. All the standards set by the FATF must be met within the due date, especially with the economy relying heavily on foreign investment and with little revenue generation streams in the country.

Finance Minister Asad Umer is of the opinion that Pakistan has taken significant steps to follow the agenda of the FATF, however, it is the influence of the Indian lobby which is resulting in excessive pressure over Pakistan. While there is no denying that Pakistan has, in fact, taken measures to counter the situation, but at this point, the problem is that the regulatory body does not feel satisfied with the country’s effort. What we need right now is rigorous following of the agenda given out by FATF and ensure that it gets implemented before the deadline in June. For this, the government has to cooperate on all fronts and with all governments. Perhaps this is the key issue which can unite the opposition and the government to work together because the impact will be huge.

This has also been pointed out by bankers in Pakistan, have expressed the need to follow the agenda given by FATF, pointing out how Iran also money in banks in Dubai despite sanctions because they are following the agenda given to them. The new regime has wonderfully directed foreign investment to Pakistan. Remaining out of the blacklist will further push their agenda and give the economy the required credibility.