The United Kingdom has upped the ante against Pakistan and is now sending subtle messages to the Islamist terror state to mend its ways immediately, failing which, there will be severe consequences. According to PTI, a report collated by British authorities titled, ‘National risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing 2020’ has found that large sums of money are transferred from Pakistan to the UK by criminals to purchase high-value assets, such as real estate, precious gems and jewellery to launder illicit funds. The funds are mostly found to be proceeds of corrupt practices and drug trafficking.
Real estate sector is a prime target of Pakistanis to launder their illegal money through. The report itself notes that the UK property market is seen as a particularly attractive area for dubious overseas fund flows due to “the high amounts of money that can be moved in one transaction and the appreciation in value, along with the enhanced lifestyle, makes them very attractive to criminals.”The risk from cash-based money laundering from the UK to Pakistan via smuggled cash and MSBs [money service businesses] also persists,” the report reveals.
Interestingly, in a subtle warning to Pakistan, the report also mentions the terror state’s grey-listing for failure to address the usage of funds for terror financing and money laundering. The report reminds Pakistan that the UK is a member of the FATF, thus signalling to Islamabad that failure to curb the menace of money laundering on its soil would have severe consequences, which can go as far as the blacklisting of Pakistan by the terror financing watchdog.
“In 2018 Pakistan was nominated to the FATF’s list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) deficiencies, known as the ‘grey list’, due to widespread CTF deficiencies — Pakistan failed to complete the FATF action plan resulting from their nomination to the ‘grey list’ by the required deadline of October 2019, the report notes. It then goes on to add, “The UK, as a member of FATF, continues to closely monitor for sustained and timely efforts. The UK also continues to support Pakistan, including with capacity-building assistance, to help Pakistani authorities meet their commitments.”
In any case, the United Kingdom is presently under the rule of Conservative leadership, which has historically remained pro-India, unlike their liberal counterparts, who tend to toe the Pakistani line of a variety of issues. As such, Islamabad could find itself under a mountain of troubles, ranging from the UK taking action against it to the Arab world going all guns blazing against its terror-support industry. India, in any case, remains ever ready to pound the living daylights out of Pakistan.