Pakistan has received an unexpected reprieve in meeting a deadline set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to counter terror financing as a key review meeting scheduled for June has been put off because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Pakistan, which has been on FATF’s “grey list” since June 2018, was given time till June by the multilateral watchdog to fully implement a 27-point action plan to curb terror financing and money laundering. Pakistan’s performance was to be assessed at review meetings to be held in Beijing during June 21-26.
“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 unnamed Pakistani official was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper on Wednesday. The country’s performance will now be reviewed in October, the daily reported.
The official 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 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health crisis has provided Pakistan with additional time to “remove deficiencies”, the official was quoted as saying.
There was no official word from FATF on the development.
A post on FATF’s website regarding the organisation’s calendar for 2020 said: “Due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency, the FATF and FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs) are implementing precautionary measures that impact scheduled events, such as postponing, cancelling, or holding them virtually.”
During an assessment in its plenary meeting in February, FATF concluded that all deadlines for Pakistan’s action plan “have expired” and the country had “largely addressed” 14 of the 27 points in the action plan, “with varying levels of progress made on the rest.
The Dawn reported cited officials as saying that Pakistan had put in place a broad-based strategy for completing outstanding commitments with the FATF and was actively making progress.
FATF had warned Pakistan that if its action plan is not implemented by June, it would face the possibility of being moved to the list of monitored countries, commonly known as the “black list”.