Islamabad, Feb 18: Pakistan has termed the international money laundering watchdog’s decision to blacklist it as “unjustified and unreasonable,” insisting that the government believes it has already met all international standards regarding amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body working to combat money laundering and financing terrorists, blacklisted Pakistan along with four other countries for not meeting deadlines and flouting recommendations made to them to fight the menace. The FATF blacklist now includes 17 countries, The Express Tribune reports.
The government will give a formal response after reviewing the implications, but authorities believe that it was more an act of the United States “pressuring Pakistan to dictate its terms.”
A top finance ministry official has said “Pakistan is neither running away from meeting international standards nor is it a law-deficient state,” adding that in October 2011, the FATF preliminary report proposed amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
These amendments, pertaining to freezing of assets and forfeiture, have already been covered in the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance and Anti-Money Laundering Act, said the official. Pakistan contended that it was ready to incorporate these amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act, but needed more time to take stakeholders into confidence.
The FATF, whose recommendations reach over 180 countries through regional networks, estimates that money laundering and related financial crimes cost between two percent and five percent of global gross domestic product.
In its report, the FATF also called on governments to consider tax evasion as a money-laundering offence. The agency is also extending its focus to target the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. (ANI)