Offshore properties

PRIME Minister Imran Khan-led PTI government appears to be earnest to trace and recover the money stashed illegally by Pakistani nationals abroad. In this regard, the Federal Cabinet in its fourth meeting on Wednesday took some very important decisions including that of issuing whistle blower ordinance besides activating diplomatic channels to accelerate the ratification of a bilateral treaty for exchanging information with Switzerland, thus removing a major bottleneck in accessing crucial information about hidden assets abroad.
Side by side, a case relating to offshore properties is also being heard by a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and in the last hearing, the FIA told the apex court that Pakistanis own properties and assets worth US$150 billion in the United Arab Emirates. The very reports are also on record that $200 billion of Pakistani nationals are stashed in the Swiss Banks. Promises were also made in the past that the Swiss authorities will be engaged to retrieve this huge amount but then nothing happened much to the disappointment of the nation. Though according to experts retrieving the black money from abroad will not be an easy task due to certain limitations, and in this regard they also quote the examples of other countries including that of the neighbouring India where Modi had also made promises to recover the Indian money but failed to do so. Indeed recouping the money from the foreign land involves a lot of complicacies and it will be laborious task, but indeed action is required not only to recover the amount that was illegally stashed away but also avoid such occurrences in future.
Both PM Imran Khan and CJP Saqib Nisar had a very clear stance on the matter and one expects that both the institutions will move in cohesion and together in order to chalk out the modalities to achieve desired results. Bilateral agreements in this regard can also be signed with different countries. Indeed all the money sent abroad would not be looted or sent illegally. Therefore trust building measures are also required so that these people and businessmen bring back this money to the country and invest in different sectors of the economy. A carrot and stick approach will definitely pay the dividends for greater good of the country.

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