Pakistan gears up for the ‘biggest’ operation against money laundering

Pakistan has launched the ‘biggest’ operation against money laundering.

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement while speaking to economic reporters on Friday. He remarked that people in Sindh have started screaming already. He was referring PPP leaders criticism of the PTI government.

Khan said that $10 billion is laundered from the country every year. “It is alarming to see the amount of money that has been looted,” he remarked while addressing Envoys Conference on Economic Diplomacy in the federal capital. “We need your full support to fight corruption.”

The remarks come a day after the who’s who of Sindh’s political, bureaucratic and business circles were placed on the Exit Control List in relation to a fake accounts and money laundering case. On Thursday, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the government has decided to put the names of 172 people being investigated by the JIT in the case on the no-fly list and on Friday the complete list surfaced.

Among the politicians on the list include PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father former president Asif Ali Zardari. Zardari’s sister MNA Faryal Talpur, Sindh Excise Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla, former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, former Sindh home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh and Ali Nawaz Mehar, a former minister of state for industries. But the most interesting name on the list is that of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. Considering that Murad is the chief executive of a province, his inclusion on the list may hinder his ability to perform his duties.

‘Not in a hurry to approach IMF’

The premier said that the government is in no hurry to approach the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package.

“IMF will give Pakistan a loan on better conditions,” he remarked.

Pakistan has gone to the IMF repeatedly since the late 1980s. The last time was in 2013, when Islamabad got a $6.6 billion loan to tackle an economic crisis. However, there are fears that the terms of any new loan will be more stringent than those in 2013, due to tense relations with the US, the lender’s biggest donor.

In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced concerns over any IMF bailout being used to repay Chinese loans to Islamabad.