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Pakistan to ban bitcoin and all related services nationwide with steps already underway


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Despite the considerable digital-asset investments made by Pakistanis, the authorities in Pakistan are planning to ban all internet-based bitcoin services and activities. Government officials in Islamabad have adopted a firm position against the legalization of the unregulated digital money.

In a statement to senators, the Minister firmly stated that bitcoin would never be legalized in Pakistan. According to local media reports, the government of Pakistan announced on Wednesday its decision to suspend online bitcoin services in the country. The primary objective of this measure is to curb illicit transactions involving digital assets.

During a session of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha disclosed that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Ministry of Information Technology have already initiated the process of prohibiting bitcoin.

Pasha, as quoted by the Daily Pakistan, emphasized that bitcoin would never be granted legal status in Pakistan. She pointed out the country’s obligations to fulfill requirements set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to be one of the main reasons.

The government official, as reported by the Pakistani newspaper, was addressing the potential risks Pakistan could face after being removed from the FATF’s “grey list” in the previous autumn. Pakistan had been on the list since 2018 due to significant deficiencies related to strategic counter-terrorist financing. Pasha stated:

FATF had set a condition that bitcoin will not be legalized.

The SBP official acknowledged concerns regarding the substantial investments made by Pakistanis in bitcoin. He mentioned that the country’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) are actively engaged in addressing this matter, without providing further details.

The publication highlighted that Pakistan experienced a surge in bitcoin trading and mining before the government implemented a ban in April 2018. However, despite the government’s efforts to halt these activities, both trading and mining persist in the country.

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