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The National Assembly of Pakistan has passed three new laws as part of a bid to tighten its anti-money laundering practices, particularly when it comes to the financing of terrorist organisations.
These were the Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Stock Exchanges (Corporatisation, Demutualisation and Integration) (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
One of the bills was a set of 28 amendments to existing anti-money laundering legislation, which was originally enacted in 2010. The national senate had also approved the amendment two weeks previously.
While federal finance minister Ishaq Dar proposed the bill, the opposition did not oppose it or table any further amendments, and it passed with cross-party support. It is designed to streamline existing legislation, as well as reflecting international best practice for anti-corruption laws.
The new rules bring Pakistan into compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations. The government will now generate reports into how it is preventing money laundering and ensuring that terrorist groups do not have access to funds.
In a statement of objects and reasons for the legislation, the government explained: “The proposed amendments will reflect the government's firm resolve to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime. These amendments are aimed at streamlining the existing anti-money laundering law in line with international standards prescribed by FATF and to bring consistency and clarity in the enforcement provisions.
“These amendments would help the government to ensure that the proceeds of crimes and property involved in money laundering are detected, investigated and prosecuted effectively.”
In June, the Pakistani central bank issued guidance for financial institutions with the same goal, and this seems to be a further step in the same direction.
A senior finance ministry official told the AFP that the changes "reflect the government's firm resolve to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime".
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