Authorities in Pakistan intend to prohibit all internet-based crypto services despite significant digital-asset investments made by Pakistanis. The decision comes as government officials in Islamabad take a strong stance against the legalization of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Crypto ‘Will Never Be Legalized in Pakistan,’ Minister Tells Senators
Pakistan’s government announced on Wednesday its decision to suspend cryptocurrency services offered online in the country, local media reported. One of the declared goals of the measure is to prevent illegal transactions with digital assets.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Ministry of Information Technology have already started working on banning cryptocurrencies, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha revealed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.
Cryptocurrency will “never be legalized in Pakistan,” Pasha insisted, quoted by the News International daily. She cited requirements by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international body combatting money laundering and terrorism financing, that the country must meet.
According to the Pakistani newspaper, the government official was referring to potential risks for Pakistan following its removal from the FATF’s ‘grey list’ last fall. The country had been on it since 2018 due to “strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.” Pasha has been quoted as stating:
FATF had set a condition that cryptocurrency will not be legalized.
Supporting her position, SBP Director Sohail Jawad added that crypto transactions are highly risky and therefore will never be permitted in Pakistan. He also pointed to the great number of coins existing today and highlighted that the $2.8 trillion crypto market has shrunk to $1.2 trillion.
The SBP official also addressed concerns over the billions of dollars that Pakistanis have already invested in crypto assets. He said that the nation’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) are working on this but did not elaborate.
Pakistan saw a boom in cryptocurrency trading and mining before the government banned them in April 2018, the publication noted. Nevertheless, both activities continue in the country despite the government’s attempts to stop them.
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