Bring back money from Swiss banks

THE matter about money stashed away illegally by influential Pakistani nationals in Swiss accounts keep cropping up time and again in the media yet ordinary people wonder whether this amount will ever return to the country. Once again there are reports that government will enter into an agreement with Swiss authorities shortly to get access to accounts of Pakistanis who are believed to have hidden billion of dollars in the Swiss banks.
Regarding the Swiss accounts, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and members of his finance team over the last four years have repeatedly made statements at the floor of Parliament raising hopes that finally the laundered money will return to the country but nothing substantial appears to have taken place to get access to the foreign accounts and retrieve the money. It is believed that with recovery of mammoth amount, the country can pay off all its domestic and foreign debts and still left with substantial amount to execute mega development projects. Though we understand that it is a complex matter involving dealing with foreign institutions but the government on its part should show sincerity and seriousness of purpose to take the matter to logical conclusion. As Pakistan has officially become a signatory to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Multilateral Convention, the government can now get access to information about its citizens having accounts in foreign banks and thus can recover the ill-gotten amount, which will go a long way in helping the country stand on its own feet, to break the proverbial begging bowl. Recent US report that Pakistan annually loses $10b to money laundering is mind-boggling and government needs to tighten domestic laws in order to curb these illegal transactions. Unless we do this, we will never be able to address the issues of poverty and backwardness.

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