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Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of the Pakistani terror group Lashker-e-Taiba. Photo: Arif Ali / AFP / Getty Images

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) passed a motion last week to return Pakistan to its watchlist for nations that have not done enough to tackle terrorist financing. Pakistan will formally be added to this “grey list” in June.

Why it matters: FATF’s decision is not a purely symbolic move. It has real and problematic consequences for Pakistan's economy and foreign relations.

First, getting grey-listed poses economic risks for Pakistan. Nervous foreign banks and investors may scale back their engagement with an economy singled out for not cracking down on terrorist financing. This could reduce foreign transactions and foreign direct investment in Pakistan, exacerbating its growing fiscal deficit and falling foreign reserves.

Second, FATF’s decision, which was arrived at by consensus, could mark a new and troubling precedent for Pakistan. The motion was cosponsored by the U.S. and several European powers. It was not opposed by key Pakistani partners Saudi Arabia and China. For all the talk of coercive, unilateral moves by Washington to pressure Pakistan into targeting terrorists, Islamabad is also confronting multilateral efforts by like-minded nations.

What's next: Pakistan will prepare an action plan to be reviewed at the next FATF meeting in June. If the plan is approved, Pakistan will be formally grey-listed but able to begin proceedings for removal from the list. If it's rejected, Pakistan risks being placed on a more serious black list — a devastating outcome that could drive investors out of Pakistan in droves.

Michael Kugelman is deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center.

Go deeper

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

For CEOs, social media has lost its fun

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CEO Jack Dorsey's departure from Twitter shows that, in Silicon Valley today, social media is becoming a field to flee.

Why it matters: Coming on the heels of Facebook's name change and new metaverse focus, Dorsey's resignation is another sign that the industry now views the massive social networks it built over the last two decades as buggy "legacy applications" mired in annoying social problems.

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