Overseas property holders

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The Pakistani investigation agencies have reportedly traced overseas properties worth billions of rupees owned by Pakistani nationals in the United Arab Emirates. According to a report published in one of the leading news paper the investigators with the cooperation of Dubai authorities have traced 2,750 overseas which were allegedly acquired by Pakistani nationals with help of illegal flight of capital and plunder of the hard-earned taxpayers’ money worth around Rs 4,240 billion. The report revealed that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have started crackdown against around 5,000 super rich Pakistanis who allegedly violated national laws to acquire these properties in the UAE.
There is no doubt in undisclosed foreign assets held by Pakistani citizens in different parts of the world. Panama Papers Scandal that jolted the Sharif government in April 2016 had revealed that 500 Pakistanis including politicians, retired judges and bureaucrats own properties and bank accounts abroad. Following the Panama disclosure it was told that the government has started negotiations with the UAE and Swiss governments to collect information regarding Pakistanis holding billions of dollars of offshore assets and bank accounts to bring these Pakistanis into the tax net. But so far no formal inquiry was initiated for the recovery of assets held abroad by the Pakistani citizens despite the fact that the apex court has taken notice of the matter.
The Supreme Court was told on Monday that Pakistanis own around $150 billion worth of properties and assets in the UAE alone. The report was submitted in connection with a SC case on Pakistani nationals’ properties and bank accounts abroad. Commenting on the report Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that such a massive amount was still parked abroad despite the amnesty scheme?
These properties allegedly been earned/acquired through illegal means need to be investigated thoroughly so as to hold accountable all those who have not only betrayed . Holding assets abroad is not a crime but all those Pakistani nationals who have purchased properties or have bank accounts abroad are legally bound to prove that the money they shifted abroad was sent through proper channels and particularly the ones who have either served as a public office holder or as a civil servant should make sure that the bank accounts, assets/properties they own have been acquired legally. In case they fail to establish their claim the state has the right to confiscate such assets. Now that a Task Force has been setup under the directions of Apex court to take appropriate action for the recovery of the undisclosed foreign assets one hopes that the new government will take all possible measures to make sure that the overseas property owners who have hidden their wealth abroad be held accountable and the looted money stashed and foreign accounts is brought back to the country.

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