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Pakistan, UK launch 'initiative' for repatriation of 'looted wealth'

Updated September 17, 2018

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets British Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad. —AP
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets British Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad. —AP
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets British Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Foreign Office. ─ Photo courtesy Dr Muhammad Faisal Twitter
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets British Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the Foreign Office. ─ Photo courtesy Dr Muhammad Faisal Twitter

Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem and British Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday jointly announced a justice and accountability 'initiative' between the UK and Pakistan aimed at repatriating "the looted wealth of the country".

The initiative — which the duo insisted will not target individuals but is a broader arrangement between the two governments to collaborate for the elimination of a variety of crimes — was launched during the British home secretary's official visit to Islamabad.

The 'initiative', earlier reported to be an 'agreement' but described by the government as only a 'declaration', is aimed at tackling corruption and "making it a priority for both governments," Radio Pakistan reported.

"The aim of this declaration is to bring back the looted wealth of the country," Shahzad Akbar, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, said, adding: "The agreement on exchange of convicted personnel will also be renewed."

Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem and British Home Secretary Sajid Javid address a joint presser. — DawnNewsTV
Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem and British Home Secretary Sajid Javid address a joint presser. — DawnNewsTV

Javid expressed the British government's desire for mutual cooperation with Pakistan in defence, regional security and efforts against terrorism and extremism — the latter two of which, he said, are a common threat for the global community.

"The United Kingdom will continue to help Islamabad," Javid assured while acknowledging that Pakistan has made "a lot of sacrifices" in the global war against terrorism.

He described Pakistan as a "trustworthy friend of the UK" and said that eliminating corruption is a priority for both the countries.

Foreign minister wants expansion in Pak-UK ties

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who also met Javid at the Foreign Office, had stressed the need for expansion in cooperation between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The two had discussed various aspects of regional and bilateral cooperation, particularly regional security, counter-terrorism, organised crime, migration, human trafficking, money laundering and asset recovery.

Qureshi also emphasised the need to translate existing ties into a tangible and multi-faceted strategic partnership.

He also formally acknowledged the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) contributions towards the development of various socio-economic sectors in Pakistan.

The British home secretary, in return, conveyed his government’s desire to support and work closely with the new government in all areas of mutual interest.

The two countries closely cooperate under the institutional framework of the [Enhanced Strategic Dialogue].