ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday took suo motu notice over alleged laundered money of Pakistanis in Swiss accounts.
The three-judge bench headed by the CJP issued notices to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to submit a comprehensive report within two weeks regarding the money which is lying in Swiss accounts.
Earlier this month tax authorities said that the revised treaty on the Avoidance of Double Taxation did not cover past transactions, and thus it seemed the secret of the $200 billion stashed in Switzerland by Pakistanis will remain a secret.
“The scope of the revised treaty is limited to the transactions that would be carried out from January 2018,” said Dr Mohammad Iqbal, Member Inland Revenue Policy of the FBR.
He was apprising the Senate Standing Committee on Finance about the status of retrieving money that Pakistanis have stashed in Switzerland.
“The exchange of information would begin from January, but strictly speaking the information can be sought on [the] request only about the prospective transactions,” said Iqbal.
“Retrieving money of Pakistani nationals deposited in Swiss banks does not fall in the domain of the FBR nor is mandated by any agreement made for the avoidance of double taxation,” according to the FBR.
In August 2014, Pakistan initialed the revised treaty with Switzerland, which would have allowed it to get information in early 2015. Surprisingly, in September 2014, the federal government decided to renegotiate the treaty despite initialling the agreement. In May 2017, the federal cabinet finally ratified the revised bilateral treaty but it did not cover old transactions.
Iqbal defended the decision. He said that the negotiating team had given some favours to Switzerland which, according to him, was not in the national interest.