FATF grants unexpected relief to Pakistan amid pandemic

Updated April 08, 2020

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Five-month grace period given to submit report on 13 benchmarks for foolproof arrangements against terror financing. — AFP/File
Five-month grace period given to submit report on 13 benchmarks for foolproof arrangements against terror financing. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday rece­ived an unexpected relief when it was given a five-month grace period by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to submit its performance report on 13 outstanding benchmarks for foolproof arrangements against money laundering and terror financing.

“We have just received an intimation from FATF through the State Bank of Pakistan that our review scheduled for June 21-26 in Beijing has been postponed,” a senior government official told Dawn. The country’s performance would now be reviewed in October.

He said Pakistan was earlier required to submit a performance report by April 20. “We will now send our report to FATF in August that would be reviewed in October,” the official said, adding the postponement was apparently caused by uncertainties over the coronavirus pandemic but the health crisis had provided Pakistan with additional time to remove deficiencies.

In February, the Paris-based global watchdog against financial crimes gave Pakistan a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point action plan against money laundering and terror financing committed when it noted that Pakistan had delivered on 14 points and missed 13 other targets.

Officials said that Pakistan had put in place a broad-based strategy for taking necessary actions to complete outstanding commitments with the FATF in February and was actively making progress.

The FATF announced on Feb 21 that all deadlines given to Pakistan to complete the 27-point action plan had expired and only 14 items had largely been completed, leaving 13 unaccomplished targets.

It had strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020 or else it would be moved to the list of monitored jurisdiction, commonly known as the watchdog’s blacklist.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2020