Pakistani high court orders government to regulate crypto in three months

Regulation

The High Court of Sindh (SHC), the highest judicial body in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, has asked the government to come up with modalities for cryptocurrency regulation.

According to Pakistani English daily The Express Tribune, the SHC gave the instruction while hearing a petition brought before the court challenging the legality of the country’s 2018 crypto ban.

The SHC instructed regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the central bank to work with government agencies like the Ministries of Information Technology and Law to develop crypto regulations within three months.

As part of the proceedings, the SHC also requested that a report on the steps taken to regulate cryptocurrencies be submitted in the same time period.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the SECP has been considering crypto regulations since November 2020.

Combating money laundering and terrorism financing is reportedly at the heart of government consultation surrounding cryptocurrencies especially amid pressure from the Finance Action Task Force.

The SHC’s instruction on Wednesday puts Sindh as the latest province to demand some form of recognition for cryptocurrencies in Pakistan.

Back in December 2020, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly called on the federal government to legalize crypto. At the time, the lawmakers pointed to the broad-based nature of digital currency adoption as an indication that cryptocurrencies were poised to replace fiat in the future.

Related: Pakistan’s central bank is ‘carefully studying’ CBDCs, says governor

In March, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, another of Pakistan’s four provinces, announced plans to pilot crypto mining farms in the region.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), like many other central banks across the world, is also studying central bank digital currencies.

In a separate crypto-related case before the Lahore High Court involving stakeholders like the SECP, SBP, and the federal government, the court asked for participants to present legal points on the matter in subsequent proceedings.

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, another of Pakistan’s four provinces.

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