NEW YORK   -  Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that the money laundered from the poor countries to the rich States must be treated like terror financing as it killed more people than the latter.

The terror financing, he said, killed people and the West was worried about it. “Money laundering must be treated like drug money and terror financing as it kills far more people but there has to be a political will in richer countries,” the Prime Minister said while speaking here at the UN Trusteeship Council High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development. He said that financial flow did affect the rich countries too, but it fully devastated the poor countries and the world must realise the impact it was having in causing poverty, death and destruction in developing world. Imran Khan said that there had to be a political will in richer countries, no matter, the aid that went from the richer countries to the poor countries was minuscule from the money that were plundered from those countries and ended up in their off-shore accounts.

“I don’t understand why in this age they have safe havens - why are we protecting even rich countries, and why we protect these people who avoid taxes and why there is so much greed. We are being plundered by these ruling elites simply because there is nothing to stop them,” the Prime Minister said. Citing the example of money laundering in Pakistan in the past governments, Imran Khan said that Pakistan had a corrupt leadership that had taken four times more debts than the total debts the country had taken since its creation.

Most of the money that was made up of corruption was siphoned off , and the money that had been spent on health, education and poverty alleviation was spent on buying properties in foreign countries, he added.

The Prime Minister said that the Pakistan government had been trying its best to retrieve that money but when such properties were located in the Western countries so many legal constraints came in the way. There were lacunas and difficulties in trying to get that money back, he added.

He expressed his fear that there was lack of political will in the rich countries as they gained from it and the poor countries did not have the resources to hire lawyers to retrieve that money (stashed abroad).

He said that in such a situation the poor countries were not only deprived of their resources to get the money back and spend it on its people but secondly it was not a deterrent for corruption.

So the criminal ruling elite of the developed countries kept taking money out of poor countries because there was not enough deterrent and they knew they could get away with it, he added.