Pakistan seeks further cooperation with the UK National Crime Agency

Pakistan seeks further cooperation with the UK National Crime Agency

LONDON: Pakistan seeks further cooperation with the UK National Crime Agency, revealed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability (SAPM) Shahzad Akbar.

He met officials of the United Kingdom and discussed ways to increase cooperation between the two countries, reported *The News *on Sunday.

Akbar held meetings with officials at the UK’s Home Office, National Crime Agency (NCA), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to discuss the ongoing cooperation between the two countries.

The SAPM who landed in London on Tuesday, held meetings over three days. He was accompanied by Barrister Zia Nasim, UK-trained legal advisor to Assets Recovery Unit.

Incidentally, Federal Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem and Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan who were also present in London at the same time for meetings on arbitration cases.

Akbar held three meetings with Home Office officials and discussed problems related to joint operations regarding immigration and border violations as well political matters.

Sources at the Home Office said the extradition of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan was not discussed in these meetings even though the Pakistani government has sent a letter to the UK for the repatriation of the former premier.

A spokesman of the Assets Recovery Unit, when contacted, refused to share any details but it is understood that Akbar asked the British government for greater cooperation.

During meetings with the NCA officials, both sides agreed to increase cooperation to fight serious and organised crimes.

Sources have said that with help from the government of Pakistan, the NCA is looking into the financial deals — heavy transaction and movement of large funds for real estate investments — of over a dozen rich Pakistanis.

Both sides have held regular contacts as investigations into the financial affairs continue. It is possible that in the coming days, the NCA could take action against some of the rich people if enough evidence was gathered for prosecution or enough grounds for Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs).

UK officials confirm that although there are difficulties in dealing with the white-collar crimes and it was also difficult to deal with requests of foreign governments and agencies in many instances.

However, they acknowledged that engagement between Pakistan and the UK has significantly become meaningful since Akbar joined PM Imran Khan’s cabinet.

BY: Murtaza Ali Shah