Govt seeking information about Pakistanis’ foreign assets, Senate told


ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Friday that a treaty has been signed with the Swiss authorities to gain access to information regarding the bank accounts of Pakistani citizens in Switzerland.

Responding to a question during the question hour in the upper house of the parliament, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said the treaty signed earlier by the previous government in 2013 was incomplete in some respects as it did not give information of account holders.

He said excluding Switzerland, information from twenty-nine countries have started coming and expressed the hope that the process of receiving data from Switzerland will begin in January.

He said all territories where Pakistani citizens may stash their funds are in FBR’s focus. He said the government is taking all possible measures to obtain information about Pakistani nationals’ assets in other countries, including money kept in Swiss Banks for the application of tax laws.

Hammad said that upon receipt of actionable tax information about Pakistani tax-resident persons if the funds remitted out are found to be unexplained, tax demand could be raised that is recoverable against the assets located in Switzerland under the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

Mushtaq Ahmed said economic situation greatly deteriorated in the first 100 days of the government. He said inflation is adversely affecting common man and Prime Minister Imran Khan had boasted that he would not go on foreign trips, but so far he had undertaken six such tours in first 120 days of the government.

He said accountability is being used for political victimisation of opponents and demanded the revival of students and trade unions as these entities provide a nursery for a democratic culture.

Senator Raza Rabbani expressed concerns over efforts being made to dysfunction the parliament.

Taking part in the debate over the presidential address to both the houses of the parliament on September 17, he said the parliament should be made a fulcrum to formulate Pakistan’s foreign policy.

He said a parliamentary committee on national security should immediately be constituted to look into the matters pertaining to country’s security and foreign relations and efforts to break political parties and create forward blocks should be avoided.

He said selective accountability is not acceptable as it should be across the board. “Using accountability as a tool to forward a political agenda has not produced positive results in the past.”

He also said that politicians, executive, judiciary and military bureaucracy should be equally treated when it is about accountability and misuse of power.