Pakistan at the moment is under a lot of international pressure to abide by the outline of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to stop money laundering and terror financing in the country. Despite the efforts of the military, there is a need to secure the banking system to not only make it more efficient but to also ensure a secure line for the national and international transactions. The team comprising of Finance Minister Asad Umar is set to introduce key amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act 2010 and the Federal Investigation Act (FIA) 1974 as part of the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 to comply with the requirements of the FATF.

Due to the lack of legislation regarding the matter, the proceedings in money laundering cases have largely depended on the verdicts of the judges involved. It is imperative that the country has a sound legal backup when it comes to such matters because this not only impacts the economy and allows the inflow and outflow of such a revenue but also creates more and more space for illegal activities.

Some of the suggestions which are worthy of praise include the tackling of the issue in a very holistic manner. The Finance Minister has ensured that all the relevant agencies working on FATF related matters join hands to work towards this goal. This will be complemented with an increase in the fine along with the jail time of the convict. Money laundering may soon be a non-bailable offence in Pakistan. It is also being considered to expand the jurisdiction of the FIA in the country, i.e. new tribal districts recently merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The only concern will be the misuse of authority, which should be countered with devising a mechanism that allows no officer to misuse his or her authority.

One aspect with the government should also work upon is encouraging judicial reforms. Tribunals will only be able to give verdicts in six months if the backlog of cases is addressed. This step requires coordination with the judiciary to devise a framework which can help improve the existing setup. The next FATF review meeting is in February before which the groundwork for the amendments should be laid down.