Foreign Office claims Britain’s decision to add Pakistan to high-risk countries for money-laundering and terror financing is ‘not based on facts’
Pakistan on Monday urged the U.K. to desist indulging in politically-motivated and misplaced measures that are not reflected by facts.
“We have seen the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (High Risk Countries) Regulations 2021 regarding certain jurisdictions, including Pakistan,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office. “The U.K.’s assessment leading to the subject regulation is not based on facts. Pakistan has a robust AML/CFT regime in place. We hope the U.K. would review its regulations in light of facts on ground and avoid politically-motivated and misplaced measures,” it added.
The U.K. reportedly added Pakistan to a list of 21 countries that are a part of Schedule 3ZA (High Risk Countries) under its Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (High Risk Countries) Regulations 2021. Any currently designated under Schedule 3ZA is believed to pose a threat because of weak tax controls and lack of checks and balances on terrorism financing and money-laundering.
In its statement, the Foreign Office said that over the past two years Pakistan had initiated several steps, including through legislation, institutional and administrative actions, to curb money-laundering and counter terror financing. “These actions, which have also been reported to the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] and shared with the E.U., have been widely acknowledged by the international community. The near completion of Pakistan’s FATF Action Plan through 24 out of 27 action items is a testament to Pakistan’s commitment and tangible actions in AML/CFT domain,” it said.
Pakistan has been on the FATF grey-list since 2018 pending resolution of 27 action plan targets to curb money laundering and terror financing. The next review is slated for June, when Islamabad must show it has completed the final three targets to be whitelisted once more.