Explainer: What’s FATF & why to ‘fear’ its greylisting?

With the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary concluding June 25, Pakistan once again fell face first in the global financial watchdog rankings this time conceding more frustration as it had struggled, scooched and stumbled but nevertheless managed to convince the world it has delivered on the anti-money laundering (AML) and countering terror-financing (CTF) demands, even if only on papers and policy measures, but instead of these struggles coming to fruition, Pakistan was told to ‘do more’ and is further slapped with extra six-point agenda to now satisfy.

Among the new six new conditions Pakistan has to fulfill, one is to ensure the Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) –professions like a jeweler, lawyer, accountant and real estate agent are monitored closely and in a way fully compliant with FATF requirements.

While Pakistan has asserted it will have satisfied on the remaining seven pointers within next 12 months, instead of two years this compliance should normally take, the observers, analysts and government officials have blamed it on internationally played out anti-Pakistan lobbying instead of yielding the judgments were made on fair technical grounds.

How this greylisting or keeping in the grey list affects Pakistan is more of a complexity to a layman in Pakistan but even so, the trickle-down effect is unavoidable for it means an impact on the economy and consequently on the GDP.

Furthermore, remittances, which Pakistan has long bragged about and which recorded a 29pc YoY jump in July-April report by SBP released May and raked an all-time high of $24.2bn, will likely take the hit for our banking system and monetary institutions will be not be trusted.

Our foreign investments (FI) and foreign direct investments (FDI) will take hits as investors whose inflows just show a promising rise in recent monthly turnover as FDI stood a seven-month high at $198.3 million in May according to the central bank data.

Once their confidence in the economy is discouraged by continuous greying of Pakistan or worse blacklisting, by FATF, they will be wary and cautious in letting their funds flow into the local economy and will find other destinations. This hits Pakistan and thus substantiates the concerns of the Pakistani government that says this was a result of concerted lobbying against Pakistan led by India.

If this continues or Pakistan once again ‘flunks’ the FATF assessment in expressing its passion in countering money laundering, terror-financing and non-transparent financial channels, the crumble would intensify and thus experts suggest Pakistan must take this an opportunity to overhaul all the lacunae and loopholes allowing outsiders to point fingers at it.

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