The government has decided to set up anti-money laundering cells across the country to check the flow of black money in the national economy and hundi (illegal cash transfers).
According to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s estimates, thousands of Pakistanis are involved in this illegal business and are evading millions of rupees worth of taxes annually.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has directed the FIA to come up with fresh proposals to activate anti-money laundering laws.
In a meeting with FIA Director General Saud Mirza, the minister said that anti-money laundering units will be established in all parts of the country to check money laundering and hundi.
Of the total 52 FIA stations countrywide, 16 are inoperative due to the shortage of staff, Mirza told the minister. Nisar said FIA officials should treat all complainants with respect.
The minister said the government wanted to revamp the FIA by removing controversial officials and bringing in those with integrity and excellent track record. An effective system of reward and punishment would be put in place to boost the morale of law enforcers, he added.
He said the FIA would get more powers to act against corrupt officers. Chaudhry Nisar ordered a merit-based selection and induction procedure to ensure better functioning of the agency. He said no political interference would be tolerated in matters of transfers and postings within the interior ministry.
Regarding hiring of special public prosecutors, Chaudhry Nisar said it should be done in a transparent manner and they should be paid, according to their qualification.
Meeting with NADRA chief
In a separate meeting, National Data Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman Tariq Malik informed the minister that so far the authority has completed biometric registration of 96% men and 86% women in the country.
Chaudhry Nisar asked the NADRA chief to prepare an electronic voting system before the next general elections.
Malik informed the minister that NADRA was also helping other departments like Zakat and Baitul Maal. He added that work on geographical information system has recently been started in Islamabad and data was being collected at a rapid pace.
Under the direction of the minister, work has also been started on introducing ‘e-tag system’ at the five selected entry and exit points in Islamabad.
The minister was briefed about the three-tier identification system recently launched by NADRA on two main entry and exit points in Swat. Chaudhry Nisar appreciated the system and asked for a proposal for replicating it in Quetta.
The minister was also apprised of the international projects which NADRA is undertaking in Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria and Bangladesh, while bids are being tendered for few projects in Libya, Kuwait, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2013.