The spokesperson for the Foreign Office (FO), Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, has said that the United Kingdom’s (UK) decision to include Pakistan in its list of 21 High-Risk countries is not based on ground realities.
Reacting to the development on Monday, the FO issued a statement claiming that the UK’s decision to place Pakistan on the list of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing High-Risk Countries is unrealistic.
Hafeez said that the FO hopes that the UK will remove Pakistan from the controversial list and review the regulations in light of up-to-date facts. He also requested the British government to avoid politically motivated and misplaced measures.
The statement from FO came a day after the UK placed Pakistan in the list of 21 countries that were part of Schedule 3ZA or High-Risk Countries under its Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Amendment (High-Risk Countries) Regulations 2021.
Chaudhry also said:
Pakistan has a robust anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime in place. Pakistan has taken unprecedented measures through a series of legislative, institutional, and administrative actions in the domain of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
In June 2018, Pakistan was placed in the FATF’s grey list on the basis of deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes. Since then, the country has been fighting to reclaim its position in the ‘white list’ and avoid being placed on the ‘blacklist.’
The FATF had given Pakistan a 27 points action plan to earn the white list place and had observed in its last plenary session that while Islamabad had made “significant progress”, there are some “serious deficiencies” remaining in mechanisms to clog terrorism financing.
The FATF President, Dr. Marcus Pleyer, mentioned that 24 of the 27 points agreed upon by Pakistan as part of its action plan had been accomplished. The actions were also shared with the European Union along with the FATF, and have been widely acknowledged by the international community.