The countdown to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris has begun. In just a few days, Pakistan will know its fate. That is, whether or not its action plan against terror financing and subsequent enforcement measures make the cut. The objective here is for the country to be formally placed on the grey-list; a decision that was taken by FATF and spearheaded by the US, Britain, France and Germany during the Task Force’s plenary session back in February. In other words, the last government spent the intervening months working hard to ensure that Pakistan does not join Iran and North Korea on the dreaded blacklist. Naturally, here at home, there are fears of the grey-listing possibly precipitating an economic meltdown. Not least because this will impact the country’s ability to borrow from global lending institutions, such as the IMF. Or put another way, Pakistan can expect to see a downgrading of its debt ranking; thereby hindering its ability to tap into international bond markets.Moreover, even if grey-listing is secured the danger remains that the EU will take punitive action by placing the country on its own blacklist. Thereby putting Pakistan in dire straits given that the bloc represents its largest trading partner. Indeed, the prospect of a post-Brexit Britain picking up the pieces is hardly viable. For while there have been unofficial murmurings of the latter being keen to invest in the Pakistani textile market, once, that is, it fully unshackles itself from Brussels, that time is not now. Not under the present leadership, in terms of the premiership; not necessarily the party. The bottom line is that putting its house in order on the anti-terror financing front will be good for Pakistan and its citizenry. Yet this is unfortunately easier said than done when the establishment is doing its utmost to mainstream militants. Or when the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rightly blocks the electoral registration of particular terrorist groups in all their political reincarnation while failing to prevent the latter from contesting on other party tickets.The only way to ensure no additional punitive measures is for all branches of the state to be on the same page in this regard. Yet in the run-up to next week’s Paris powwow, Pakistanis should not unduly hold their breath. * Published in Daily Times, June 21st 2018.