Pakistan says UK move to include Pakistan among high-risk countries not fact based
Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Monday the United Kingdom's decision to include Pakistan in the list of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing High-Risk Countries was not based on facts, reported 24News HD TV channel.
In a statement, Chaudhri expressed the hope that the UK would review its regulations in light of facts on ground and avoid politically motivated and misplaced measures.
"Pakistan has a robust AML (anti-money laundering)/CFT (combatting the financing of terrorism) regime in place. “Over the last two years, Pakistan has taken unprecedented measures through a series of legislative, institutional and administrative actions in the domain of anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism."
These actions, which have also been reported to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and shared with the European Union have been widely acknowledged by the international community, it said
Chaudhary added that the near completion of the FATF action plan through 24 out of 27 Action Items is a testament to Pakistan's commitment and tangible actions in AML/CFT domain."
A day earlier, it had emerged that the UK had added Pakistan to the list of 21 countries that were part of Schedule 3ZA (High Risk Countries) under its Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (High-Risk Countries) Regulations 2021.
This list of 21 countries — released by the UK Government — replicates those countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as high risk or under increased monitoring.
Pakistan shares the list at number 15 with conflict-ridden countries such as Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe. The full list of high-risk third countries under Schedule 3ZA includes, in order: Albania, Barbados, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ghana, Iran, Jamaica, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Senegal, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
According to the UK government, the nations in this category pose a threat because of weak tax controls and lack of check and balance on terrorism financing and money laundering. The UK government’s “Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (High-Risk Countries) Regulations 2021” has come into force from 26 March 2021 after the definition of a high-risk third country identified in a new Schedule 3ZA.