The Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), established four years ago for the purpose of stopping the money used for terrorism and money laundering, has not even achieved its basic targets. Owing to the negligence of the department, Pakistan is not only facing troubles at the international forums but the value of the currency is also taking a hit.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has placed Pakistan on the blacklist due to the negligence of FMU. The finance experts predict that Pakistan may face economic trouble after the FATF move. They said foreign investors were already wary of bringing their money to the country because of law and order problem, this latest blacklisting would further hurt the nation’s image.
Pakistan is the member of the FATF for Asia Pacific for many years and the anti-money laundering ordinance was first time introduced in 2007. A unit comprising financial experts was made and its office was established in the State Bank of Pakistan. This institution came under the supervision of the finance ministry.
Azhar Qureshi was the first director general and with his efforts the anti-money laundering ordinance was amended according to the international standard. Pakistan’s performance was appreciated by the FATF.
But with the arrival of the present director general, the department has lost its capacity and reputation. Sources said that all the banks and monetary institutions are bound to report the FMU for any suspicious money transaction out of Pakistan. For this reason, all the head offices of banks and monetary institutions were interlinked with the FMU through computers.
But, except a few, the FMU has failed to link all money changers, insurance companies and other institutions under its umbrella. The FMU has not taken concrete steps against those persons who support terrorists in Pakistan financially.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.