Govt to receive Swiss Bank accounts details ‘soon’

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Commuters walk past a bank sign along a road. PHOTO: REUTERS
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ISLAMABAD:  Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar has said the agreement between Pakistan and Switzerland on sharing of bank accounts details is signed and ratified and is being implemented since November 30.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, he said the agreement to gain information about foreign bank accounts of Pakistanis was a great achievement. He added that previous government deliberately avoided signing Memorandum of Association an (MoU) with Switzerland.

Akbar shared Pakistan would start receiving information of Pakistanis’ bank accounts of its citizen from Switzerland within two weeks.

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He said it was essential to understand the framework of treaty to make the exchange of information possible. He added Switzerland was the country that kept information of banking accounts highly confidential but now they had agreed to share the data according to the provisions of the treaty.

Akbar said agreements for exchange of information about bank accounts with other countries would also be signed adding it would take some time.

He lamented that six years had been wasted in ratification of the treaty adding the government was also in contact with the German government for sharing bank accounts information.

Also Read: World Bank asks Pakistan, India to trade more via land

He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif spent Rs250 million on his 25 private visits abroad on government expense and the case was referred to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which would investigate the misuse of authority.

Sharing details, he said Sharif visited Jeddah on a private visit for offering Umrah with 28 people and the money was spent from national exchequer. He said, similarly, he went on private visits to United Kingdom, China and Saudi Arabia. He informed that the visit had cost Rs17 million which was paid from the national exchequer.

He said cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari regarding Swiss bank had been closed by the Switzerland government and he has also been acquitted from these cases in Pakistan’s courts.

On the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Iftikhar Durrani said the government was planning to form a new department for the eradication of poverty. He said the primary purpose of this department would be to conduct research, formulate policies and coordinate with other organisations that work to end poverty.

He said minister of Planning and Development and other ministers would be a part of the department adding the department would have its own board of governors. He said Dr Ashfaq Hassan would be made the chairman of the board.

He dismissed the news of Finance Minister Asad Umar‘s resignation and said Prime Minister Imran Khan had full confidence in the minister. He shared that the PM would take the decision to change ministers after reviewing the performance of all the ministers.

Meanwhile, NAB had asked Special Assistant to Prime Minister Usman Dar to provide evidence of former federal minister Khawaja Asif’s foreign investments.

NAB had written a letter to Dar, asking him to submit evidence against Khawaja Asif’s foreign investment in UAE under the cover of Iqama.

Dar had decided to appear before NAB along with the evidence against the former federal minister.

(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on December 6th, 2018)

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