Says money laundering is a trans-national crime and hence only Pakistan could not be blamed whereas India despite of international reports has not been reprimanded for its crimes against FATF and UN Charters

ISLAMABAD          -          Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik on Thurday wrote a letter to Marshall Billingslea, President Financial Action Task Force, pleading him to either permanently remove the name of Pakistan from the Grey list of FATF, or extend further grace period of one year in wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

This, he says, would enable Pakistan to exercise its full potential against the pandemic. He also thanked Marshall Billingslea for giving a relief of five months grace period to Pakistan for submission of response on FATF observations.” 

Senator Malik in his letter said that he would also draw your [FATF’s President] attention towards his earlier letter on 14th February 2019 and to its response on 18th February, 2020 in which he had urged for action against Prime Minister Modi for his role in money laundering, but discriminatory treatment being meted out to Pakistan.

In his letter, he said, “I would like to refer earlier letter on the above subject dated 21st March, 2020, whilst COVID-19 had begun to inflict its horrible effects upon the world, and had requested you to remove the name of Pakistan from the Grey list of FATF”. He said that money laundering was a trans-national crime and hence only Pakistan could not be blamed whereas India despite of international reports had not been reprimanded for their crimes against FATF and UN Charters.

“Pakistan has fought the ‘War on Terror’ at front line as an ally of USA and UNO and our country has suffered heavily in terms of economy and loss of human life.  Being an ally Pakistan has the right to expose the countries or state-actors, who have tried to undermine the struggle against terror by indulging in money laundering in pursuit of their hidden agendas across the globe,” reads his letter.

Senator Malik while highlighting numerous sacrifices of Pakistan writes to President FATF that Pakistan has suffered heavily by COVID-19 and there are more than 238,000 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases and 5000 deaths so far in Pakistan and according to the research report of Imperial College UK and World Health Organization (WHO) Pakistan is likely to touch the peak of COVID-19 patients in the months of July and August, 2020, with a gloomy forecast that approximately, 2.5 million people will die of COVID-19. Our present statistics reveal the trend of patients to surpass that of Spain and Italy, in comparison.

He writes that the government of Pakistan has conscientiously taken substantive measures against money laundering and we have improved our legislation as desired by the FATF and UN Charters that have been appreciated and acknowledged, by the International Community to be the right steps in the direction for removing Pakistan from the Grey list. 

He explains that at present our Parliament is dysfunctional because of intense wave of Coronavirus and hence whatever further measures were required by FATF to be taken in terms of legislation regarding money laundering will not be possible in the given situation.  

He further explains that like so many other parts of the world, we are in middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing circumstances have seriously impaired the administrative and legislative functions of the Parliament and have severely disrupted all activity of our country.

“The Members of the Parliament of Pakistan and the Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior which oversees most of the required legislation by FATF, are of firm opinion and consensus that legislative process cannot be accomplished in prevailing COVID-19 based circumstances,” Rehman Malik writes to Mr. Billingslea. 

While thanking for the earlier five months relief, Senator A. Rehman Malik said that he would like to thank for giving relief of five months grace period to Pakistan for submission of response on FATF observations and in the same spirit he would like to once again, solicit your intervention to either permanently remove the name of Pakistan from the Grey list of FATF, or extend further the grace period of one year, thereby, enabling Pakistan to accomplish the legislation and other FATF related process. 

The Senator writes “It would be an honour for me, along with my other two members, to present and explain our views on the subject, more elaborately, if such an opportunity is provided to us by your good self”.

It must be mentioned here that earlier on March 21, 2020, Senator Rehman Malik had written a letter to the President Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Marshall Billingslea, pleading him to remove the name of Pakistan from FATF’s Grey List in the wake of coronavirus outbreak to enable the country to exercise “our full potential against the pandemic and the FATF granted five month relief for Pakistan to submit its performance report.”