Pakistan’s Parliament has passed a bill for providing legal assistance in international criminal matters as part of efforts to fulfil the conditions set by the global financial watchdog FATF. The Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Amendment Bill was passed by the Senate, the upper house, on Friday amidst protest by the Opposition.
Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June, 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October, 2019. Since then the country continues to be in that list due to its failure to comply with the FATF mandates.
According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, an increase in transnational organised crime has made it necessary for the international community and Pakistan to improve the effectiveness of legal instruments because lack of uniformity in law and weak coordination mechanism between countries affects combating of crimes across borders.
To overcome these challenges, the essential legal cover is required, it said. “International cooperation in criminal matters through mutual legal assistance and extradition is intended to bridge existing gaps in respective countries toward effective law enforcement. The requested state will provide mutual legal support to the requesting state by executing necessary actions on its territory in any specific criminal case warranting shared assistance,” it read.