Apropos report that Federal Cabinet is facilitating, instead of curbing illegal money laundering, is shocking. For a country like Pakistan facing prospect of being placed on Grey List by FATF in June 2018 because of failure to curb money laundering and terror financing, it is shocking that cabinet has not given approval to SRO 116. It exposes clout and power of Tax Evading Lobby and their facilitators in FBR and Federal Government. 

In a country facing rising debts, falling reserves and declining tax revenues, it is criminal and amounts to conspiring against collective national and security interest of 200 Million for benefit of few. An Anti-Money Laundering Act was passed in 2010, but SRO to give powers to FBR Investigation and Intelligence Unit to probe into cases of approximately 180 identified individuals with assets and foreign bank accounts for which taxes have not been paid, has intentionally not been given approval by Federal Cabinet. Although actual number runs into thousands, these are just few big fish, who could presumably be proceeded against, and does not include likes of Musharraf etc. Almost 80% of them are traders and rest 20% politicians. 

Although Federal Finance Ministry extended AML 2010 Act, giving powers to FBR I&I Unit through an SRO 611 on 9 June 2016, the Federal Cabinet has not given approval creating a legal lacunae which was exploited by these influential tax evaders to get judgment from Lahore High Court in January 2018. Even the Federal Finance Act 2017 failed to validate this SRO. It seems Federal Government, the combined Opposition, paid civil bureaucracy and our intelligence agencies are complicit in this anti state activity and care two hoots about Pakistan. 

MALIK TARIQ,  

Lahore, March 25.