A test of commitment
Pakistan's pretence of compliance with FATF's 27-point action plan was not enough to carry them out of the grey list. A last-minute measure to apparently incarcerate LeT chief and UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed did not yield much but Pakistan would want to see it as a step that prevented their fall into the Black List. FATF has strictly warned Pakistan of completing the action plan by June 2020, granting an additional four months to show improvement. However, the original FATF Action Plan for Pakistan, which sought the country's efforts in curbing terror financing and money laundering emanating from its soil, had a deadline of September 2019. Tasks under the action plan included neutralising all access to funding of UNSC-designated terror groups such as LeT, JeM as well as strengthening the judicial machinery that deals with them. However, Pakistan's underperformance saw them adhere only to four points as found in the October 2019 Plenary of the FATF. The deadline for full compliance was shifted to February 2020 where the FATF statement noted that Pakistan had completed 14 objectives out of 27. Sounding a note of caution, the FATF has provided Pakistan with yet another deadline of June 2020 that may see it complete the Action Plan. Shifting deadlines may highlight a callous attitude yet it compensates for the intact motivation on Pakistan's part to complete the action plan. Grey List in this regard helps FATF maintain the pressure over Pakistan. Blacklisting Pakistan when there is scope for improvement would be loss of opportunity to direct the country towards ethical standards, urging it to get rid of nefarious designs that manifest in its underbelly. As a state, adhering to FATF's action plan may serve as a vindicative path for Pakistan to raise its image in the global order. At least, its economy desires so if not the elements that bring it down and make it infamous as a breeding ground for terror outfits. It is perhaps in earnest interest of Pakistan, therefore, to not only avoid getting blacklisted in June 2020 but rather aspire to see itself out of the grey list and join others in the white list. The road out of grey list demands compliance that the country will eradicate terror outfits and treat them with an iron hand, largely benefitting the neighbouring countries that have been the victim of the terror plots hatched in its deep state. The new deadline is merely a test of Pakistan's commitment to adhere by global expectations of morality or succumb to the wicked ambitions of terror groups on its soil.
(Image from theprint.com)