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January 24, 2020

Good news


January 24, 2020

There appears to be some relief for Pakistan at the FATF meeting in Beijing. Primarily it was India which was bent upon pushing Pakistan into the black list, but if current news reports are to be believed, Indian designs have failed at least for the time being. Pakistan sent its delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, who defended Pakistan’s compliance as presented in the report sent earlier. The Joint Group of Financial Action Task Force which met in Beijing is supposed to send its recommendation to Paris before the plenary meeting of the FATF to be held in February. According to reports from Beijing, China has showed its satisfaction over the contents of the compliance report. China has been taking a consistently supportive posture for Pakistan and has helped in the previous meetings too. It was thanks to China’s efforts that Pakistan was given extra time till Feb 2020 to resubmit the compliance report.

Now, once the Beijing meeting is over, the next uphill task for Pakistan will be in the diplomatic arena. In the past, apart from some close friends of Pakistan, diplomatic support to Pakistan has been lacking. That’s where India plays its game and tries to prove that Pakistan has been reluctant to implement the FATF recommendations. While it is true that Pakistan has been a bit slow in its responses, the progress made since the previous FATF meeting must be appreciated by most, if not all, members of the FATF group. Pakistan has been kept in the grey list for long and it is about time it is moved to the white list thanks to its compliance of the FATF recommendations. In that sense the upcoming plenary meeting of the FATF will be crucial and Pakistan cannot afford any lapses in that.

How far Pakistan’s efforts remain fruitful will be clear if we are able to muster just 12 required votes out of total 39 in the upcoming plenary. If the Beijing meeting is any guide – where only India raised tough questions – the Paris meeting should be a cinch. Interestingly, according to news reports, the questions raised by India turned out be irrelevant, resulting in a lack of support to India even by its erstwhile chorus mates – the US and some other European countries. So, overall the attempts to defame Pakistan have come to naught. But this should not be taken complacently by Pakistan, as the country has been on the brink and any minor miscalculation and misstep could land it into trouble once again.

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