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Pakistan’s Anti-Crypto Stance: Examining the Impact and Conditions From FATF

Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman ·  2 min read >

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Finance and Revenue has recently stated that cryptocurrency cannot be legalized in the nation due to conditions set by the global money-laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This decision has stirred significant debate and drawn attention to Pakistan’s approach toward the growing crypto industry. The FATF, however, clarified that it does not require countries to outright ban virtual assets and service providers. This article explores Pakistan’s anti-crypto stance, the FATF’s role, and the potential implications for the nation’s economy.

Pakistan’s Anti-Crypto Stance

In a recent statement to the country’s Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Minister Aisha Ghaus Pasha declared that cryptocurrencies would “never be legalized in Pakistan.” This announcement has been interpreted as a fresh ban on cryptocurrencies by the Pakistani government. The decision comes at a time when the nation’s economy is facing challenges, partly due to a volatile political situation.

It is worth noting that Pakistan’s central bank had previously declared its intention to ban cryptocurrencies in January 2022. This clear stance indicated the government’s reservations about the potential risks associated with digital assets. The latest statement by Minister Pasha reinforces this position and reflects the government’s concerns regarding money laundering and terrorist financing, which are key areas of focus for the FATF.

Understanding the FATF’s Role 

The FATF’s “grey list” serves as a reprimand to address strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes. Countries on this list are subject to increased monitoring by the global watchdog. The conditions imposed by the FATF are designed to ensure that nations have robust measures in place to combat illicit financial activities and protect their financial systems.

Contrary to the perception that the FATF requires countries to ban cryptocurrencies, the organization clarified that it does not mandate such prohibitions. Instead, it expects countries to comprehend the risks associated with the crypto sector, implement necessary preventive measures, and regulate virtual asset service providers (VASPs) in a manner similar to other financial institutions.

The FATF’s guidelines emphasize the importance of customer due diligence, record-keeping, reporting of suspicious transactions, and adherence to the travel rule, which necessitates the collection and sharing of information on transactions above a certain threshold. These measures aim to mitigate the potential misuse of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities, including money laundering and terrorist financing.

Implications for Pakistan’s Economy

Pakistan’s decision to maintain its anti-crypto stance, reportedly influenced by the FATF’s conditions, raises concerns about the potential impact on the country’s economy. In an era of rapid technological advancement and global adoption of cryptocurrencies, some argue that Pakistan may miss out on opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and attracting foreign investment.

Several countries have taken a different approach by embracing cryptocurrencies and establishing regulatory frameworks that balance risk mitigation with fostering innovation. By doing so, they aim to harness the potential benefits of this emerging technology while ensuring compliance with global anti-money laundering standards.

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Finance and Revenue’s recent statement regarding the impossibility of legalizing cryptocurrencies in the nation has shed light on the country’s anti-crypto stance. Although this decision is attributed to conditions set by the FATF, the global money-laundering watchdog clarified that it does not require countries to ban virtual assets and service providers outright. Pakistan’s position on cryptocurrency and the potential implications for its economy warrants further examination and debate as the crypto industry continues to evolve globally.

The Pakistani government’s firm stance against legalizing cryptocurrencies aligns with its concerns over money laundering and terrorist financing, which are legitimate global challenges. However, it is essential for policymakers to consider the potential benefits of embracing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. By implementing a well-regulated framework that balances risk mitigation with innovation, Pakistan could position itself as a regional leader in the crypto space, attracting investment and fostering technological advancements. This approach would not only address the FATF’s concerns but also create new opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and financial inclusion, ultimately benefiting the nation’s economy and its citizens. Striking a balance between regulatory oversight and technological progress is crucial in navigating the evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies.

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Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman
Muneeb is a full-time News/Tech writer at He is a passionate follower of the IT progression of Pakistan and the world and wants to educate the people of Pakistan about tech affairs. His favorite part about being a tech writer is tech reviews and giving an honest and clear verdict to his readers. Contact Muneeb on his LinkedIn at: Profile