After UK, Pakistan to ink agreement with Switzerland to curb money laundering


–Info minister says more such agreements will be signed with European, middle-eastern countries


ISLAMABAD: Following an agreement signed between Pakistan and United Kingdom to curb money-laundering, Pakistan is all set to sign an agreement with Switzerland as well to bring the country’s wealth back to where it belongs.

The announcement was made by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry while talking to journalists on Saturday.

The minister said that after the agreement, Pakistani authorities will gain access to the bank accounts of Pakistanis in Switzerland. The agreement will be signed in Geneva, he added.

Fawad said that the federal government will ink agreements with several other European and middle-eastern countries as well for the same purpose. He renewed the commitment to curb money laundering and vowed effective legislation in this regard.

The minister revealed that anti-graft agencies have tightened the noose around Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and said, “It would be immensely difficult for Zardari to abscond legal proceedings in connection with money laundering investigation.”

On September 17, Pakistan and Britain reached an agreement to work towards curbing money-laundering and repatriating assets stashed away by Pakistanis in the UK.

The announcement with regard to the accord titled ‘Justice and Accountability’ was made during a joint press conference addressed by British Home Secretary Sajid Javed and Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem in Islamabad.

As per the accord, the two countries will make efforts afresh to tackle money-laundering and help Islamabad bring back the assets stashed away by Pakistanis in the UK.

Javed said the eradication of corruption was the top priority of both the countries. “Both the countries have agreed to work again towards repatriation of assets as well as accused persons and work in this regard will begin after an approval from respective cabinets,” he added.

The secretary also said that money laundering was resulting in the low recovery of taxes and has played havoc on Pakistan’s economy.

Javed said that he held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad during which they discussed measures to curb money-laundering.

Earlier on September 14, the British government rejected a petition to extradite former finance minister Ishaq Dar citing the reason that it has no formal extradition treaty with Pakistan.

The statement said that the UK has no formal extradition treaty with Pakistan. Section 194 of the Extradition Act 2003 does allow special extradition arrangements in exceptional circumstances. However, under current law, an extradition process is initiated at the request of the government of the country in which the individual has been convicted of the crime.