The UK government has added Pakistan to the list of undesirable 21 high-risk countries with unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls. The UK added Pakistan in ‘Amendment of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2021’ listing. The regulation came into effect on March 26.
This replicates the list of countries named 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. 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 list has been released as part of post-Brexit developments. Until the end of the Brexit transition period, the list of high-risk countries was determined by the European Union (EU) under the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Now the UK has its own standalone list with Pakistan featuring in it. Pakistan condemned the UK’s move to add it to the list. Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the UK’s decision as “politically motivated”.
Hafeez Chaudhri hoped that the “UK would review its regulations in light of facts on the ground and avoid politically motivated and misplaced measures.”