On Thursday, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced comprehensive instructions for streamlining access to bank accounts for overseas Pakistanis.
Previously, overseas Pakistanis were able to access their bank accounts only after biometric verification. The newly announced instructions provide an alternate to biometric verification.
From now on, overseas Pakistanis can furnish valid passport, visa, CNIC, and National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) to their banks for verification through email or regular mail. Once the verification is completed, overseas Pakistanis can access their bank accounts as usual.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Pakistan on the grey list due to weak anti-money laundering laws and lukewarm efforts to curb terror financing. On the recommendations of FATF, the government undertook numerous measures to get off the list.
Under these measures, bank account holders were required to provide biometric credentials. Bank accounts of Pakistanis were blocked for those who failed to show up for biometric verification. As a result, overseas Pakistan could not send their remittances.
Overseas Pakistanis have lauded the announcement of SBP saying it would solve their longstanding issue of blocked bank accounts.