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Wednesday Apr 08 2020

FATF extends Pakistan's deadline amid coronavirus pandemic

Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has extended its deadline for complying conditions for Pakistan for three months up to September from earlier June 2020, reported The News on Wednesday.

The move by the financial watchdog comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc globally.

A top official of the Finance Division confirmed to The News on Tuesday that the FATF’s regional body, the Asia Pacific Group, conveyed its decision to the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) for postponement of the Joint Working Group meeting for all countries, including Pakistan, scheduled to be held in Beijing in May 2020 due to the outbreak.

“Instead May/June, now the face-to-face meeting and plenary meeting is expected to take place in August/September 2020,” the official said, added the meeting was postponed for all other countries as well.

Read also: FATF retains Pakistan on grey list till June 2020

The postponement gives Islamabad a three-month extension.

During the last meeting in Paris in February, the global terror-financing and money-laundering watchdog had made it clear that it hoped Pakistan would completely achieve all the targets by the next plenary meeting when it would analyse the country's compliance on its recommendations.

"Pakistan’s political commitment has led to progress in a number of areas in its action plan, including risk-based supervision and pursuing domestic and international cooperation to identify cash couriers," FATF had said.

In June 2018, the FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list and placed 27 conditions for review for complying in one year, till September 2019. Pakistan was twice handed a three months extension, every time to comply with 27-point action plans.

Pakistan focused on buying more time to avoid FATF blacklist: report

Out of the 27-point action plan, FATF had so far declared Pakistan fully compliant on 14 points and now there was the deadline of June 2020 for complying on the remaining 13 points in a bid to ensure exit from the grey list of the watchdog.

Now this deadline has further been extended up to September 2020. Pakistan was bound to submit its progress report to the joint working group (JWG) of FATF till April 15, 2020, but now Islamabad would have to make progress report for submission till July 2020.