Opinion | Pakistani shades of grey
Pakistan appears to have escaped being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog that monitors terror financing and money laundering. In an assessment the body has just released, Pakistan has failed to meet 22 of the 27 targets set by it. But, in a reprieve for Islamabad, the country stays on its grey list. If it does not comply with the FATF’s demands fully by February 2020, however, it risks ending up in the company of Iran and North Korea on its black list, which could result in its financial isolation.
Given the embattled state of its economy, Pakistan cannot afford to find itself blocked off by global lenders, multilateral agencies and so on. The country has been counting on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a package that would help it pay for imports, and a black listing could throw the plans of Prime Minister Imran Khan into jeopardy. Either that, or its reliance on Chinese funds would have to go up, which could expose it to other risks.
New Delhi, which is keen that all channels for terror funding are blocked forever, would be disappointed with the extra few months that Islamabad has been given to clean up its act. Yet, realism should dictate that geopolitical interests have as much to do with FATF decisions than anything else. Of the 36 countries that examine murky trails, just three dissenters are enough to stop a grey country from being marked black. The support of Malaysia and Turkey, with the tacit backing of China, is all
Islamabad needs. FATF action is not something New Delhi can rely on.