Pakistan, Britain to check illegal money transfer system

22:08, October 26, 2010      

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Interior ministers of Pakistan and Britain agreed on Tuesday to launch clampdown on illegal money transfer, a move to block the money reaching the militants.

Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik and British Home Secretary Theresa May told a news conference after their talks that both sides also agreed to check illegal immigrants.

"WE have discussed to clamp down on Hawala business together," Malik said at joint press conference with his British counterpart.

Hawala, also known as hundi, is an informal value transfer system, which besides other regions are located in South Asia and the Middle East.

In South Asia it appears to have developed into a fully-fledged money market instrument, which was only gradually replaced by the instruments of the formal banking system. Today, Hawala is probably used mostly for migrant workers. But Western countries say that money is also transferred to militants through Hawala system and needs to be checked.

Malik said that Britain had shared information with Pakistan about the Hawala business and Pakistan took prompt action to check the illegal money transfer.

Both sides also renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to stop the movement of illegal immigrants, the Pakistani minister said. He said both countries will send back any illegal immigrant under the MoU which was signed five years back.

Malik said that the MoU has nothing to do with extradition of criminals or politicians but will only deal with illegal immigrants.

He said British Prime Minister will visit Pakistan in December. He emphasized that the British visa service for Pakistani citizens should be resumed from Islamabad as earlier since the underlying reasons for its shifting to Abu Dhabi did not exist any more.

The British Home Secretary appreciated Pakistan's role against militants and extremists and said Britain will continue its support to Pakistan to defeat militants.



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