FATF has not yet removed Pakistan from the grey list
At the time of publishing the FATF has not made an official announcement regarding Pakistan’s grey list status
Claim: Official PTI handles, digital media outlets, and think tanks have uploaded congratulatory messages to their social media pages claiming Pakistan has been removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list. Grey list-designated countries are those which are required to make commitments to take stronger measures against the financing of criminal activities such as terrorism.
Fact: Pakistan has not yet been removed from the FATF grey list. According to its official website, the FATF will publish updates to Pakistan’s grey list status in its June 2022 review, to be released on 17 June 2022 at 7:30 pm Berlin time.
On 17 June 2022, starting from approximately 10 am in Pakistan, various news agencies began claiming that Pakistan had been removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) greylist, a designation which means a country needs to take stronger measures against the financing of criminal activities such as terrorism.
South Asia Index, a regional news platform purportedly focused on data-driven stories, was the first to make the claim, as far as Soch Fact Check can determine.
South Asia Index’s post was retweeted over 3,000 times, including by members of the National Assembly and former Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari. We decided to fact-check the claim given the sensational coverage the issue of Pakistan’s FATF grey list status has attracted in the past. Other digital news platforms such as RasalaPk shared the claim as well.
This fact check was published before any official announcement regarding Pakistan’s grey list status was made by the FATF through their official scheduled press briefing on the disclosure of their decision.
Fact or Fiction?
By checking the official FATF website, we found that the claim is misleading. No official updates on the proceedings of FATF’s three-day plenary meeting in Berlin, Germany, where Pakistan’s grey list status was under review, have been published so far. The website states, “There will be a press briefing in Berlin on the outcomes of the FATF Plenary on Friday 17 June at 16:30 Berlin time.” The post by South Asia Index therefore presumes the contents of a press briefing that is yet to take place.
The official Twitter account of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) MNA Shireen Mazari, as well as other PTI-associated accounts shared the claim, adding congratulatory messages crediting their government for making policies that got Pakistan whitelisted. PTI leaders Shahbaz Gill and Shaukat Tarin went as far as thanking party chief Imran Khan and finance czar Hammad Azhar directly for the win, misleading thousands of supporters in their audience in the process given the outcome of the meeting will not be announced for another few hours.
It is also possible that Pakistan will not be taken off the grey list at all, as Minister for State and Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar pointed out on Twitter.
Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 3-day period from June 15 to June 17 using the following search terms:
- “Grey List”“
South Asia Index’s post was retweeted over 3000 times reaching at least 6,143,784 Twitter users. For the above mentioned search terms, we discovered that tweets with most interactions had quoted the South Asia Index tweet. On Facebook we found pages with many followers, such as Startup Pakistan, PTI UK Official, Alamgir Khan, Dekhlo, Usman Dar, 92 News HD Plus, and others, sharing the claim and thanking former Prime Minister Imran Khan for his efforts.
On Twitter, the claim was shared by multiple users here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. It was also shared in Facebook posts such as this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
Conclusion: Misleading tweets prematurely purport that the FATF has removed Pakistan from the FATF grey list, prior to the FATF press briefing which will reveal any updates to Pakistan’s grey list status. It is possible that Pakistan will not be taken off the grey list at all. The press briefing is due to take place on 17 June 2022 Friday, at 4:30pm Berlin time. The posts and tweets thanking former Prime Minister Imran Khan for Pakistan’s removal from the list came before any official announcement.