Since the morning, the hashtag “FATF” had been trending on Twitter. The expected removal of Pakistan off the “grey list” has sparked a heated dispute over who deserves credit. On social media, the current coalition and its predecessor, the PTI, engaged in no-holds-barred verbal brawls (on conventional media, their spats were thankfully more restrained).
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed countries on its infamous “grey list” that do not adopt comprehensive anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financiang measures despite having legally promised to do so.
FATF did not remove Pakistan from its “grey list” on Friday, despite frantic expectations, but it did acknowledge complete compliance with an action plan assigned to Islamabad to demonstrate its global commitment to combatting financial crimes. A FATF inspection team would visit the location to ensure full compliance, which may not be practicable before October. If the verification is successful, Pakistan will be removed from the “grey list” in February of next year. It’s no easy task. After 48 arduous months, Pakistan is on the verge of being removed from the “grey list.” It’s being hailed as a “remarkable feat” and a “monumental success” for good reason.
Shehbaz Sharif, the Prime Minister, attempted to take credit for his own government [you have to respect his audacity]. First, he called Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, his foreign minister, to “congratulate” him. The entire team of the foreign minister deserves kudos”, he told Bilawal. The young foreign minister couldn’t resist the offer to claim the first feather in his cap. “I will keep striving to steer Pakistan out of all predicaments,” he reciprocated. Sharjeel Inam Memon, the Sindh information minister who is more vocal on national issues, was also quick to credit Bilawal who, according to him, had “raised the FATF issue on all platforms”.
But Bilawal’s deputy, Hina Rabbani Khar, understands that claiming credit for something they had little to do with is unjust. “Our triumph is the culmination of a four-year difficult struggle,” she posted on Twitter. This clearly indicates that she was referring to the previous administration’s activities. She did say, though, that it shouldn’t matter who gets the credit. What matters is that Pakistan is no longer in danger.
Imran Khan informed his former cabinet ministers that the “whole country is proud of you” for the FATF triumph, despite the fact that he had purposefully neglected them. “Hammad Azhar [Khan’s senior minister], members of his FATF coordination committee, and personnel who worked on this mission did an outstanding job.” “The entire country is proud of you,” Khan said on Twitter, detailing his government’s painstaking efforts to keep Pakistan off the FATF’s “black list.”
DG ISPR stepped in hours after Khan’s statements. It was “a colossal endeavour setting the road for Pakistan’s whitelisting,” Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said, quoting COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. It was made possible, he said, by a team at the military headquarters. “A core cell at GHQ guided the national effort and a civil-military team that synergized implementation of the [FATF] action plan, made it feasible, and made Pakistan proud,” Gen Qamar said, according to the DG ISPR. On Saturday, Prime Minister Sharif called Gen Bajwa to express his gratitude for the “core cell’s” efforts.
, Pakistan’s removal off the “grey list” was largely due to the PTI government’s efforts. At the same time, the PTI government would not have been able to complete this massive undertaking without the assistance and collaboration of the state institutions.