The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has given Pakistan three-months’ notice to stem financial flows to two designated terrorist groups operating in the country.

The authorities in Pakistan must now block financial channels used by Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed as well as their affiliates.

Banking isolation

If Pakistan fails to satisfy FATF’s conditions within 90 days, the international watchdog may place Pakistan in the category of jurisdictions with serious anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies.

This would make it difficult for Pakistan’s financial services industry to do business globally.

Grace period

The announcement was made at the recent FATF Plenary meeting held at the end of February in Paris.

Pakistani officials had to argue a tough case at the meeting to obtain the 90-day grace period and avoid being placed immediately on the list of jurisdictions with AML/CFT deficiencies.

Under pressure

The country came under pressure at the October 2016 FATF Plenary meeting to be placed on the list of countries with AML/CFT deficiencies but Pakistani officials were able to convince the watchdog at the February meeting that they are actively seeking to remedy deficiencies.

Officials maintained that efforts had been made since then, citing the travel ban and house arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed on 31 January 2017 as an example.