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Pakistan can pay off entire debt with money in Swiss banks: PIAF

Pakistan can pay off entire debt with money in Swiss banks: PIAF


LAHORE: Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has greeted the government for pursuing Switzerland government to divulge black money information to Pakistan.

Credit goes to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to convince the Swiss authorities to finally sign the agreement with Islamabad this month for exchange of information on tax-evaded money.

Pakistan has already signed the Multilateral Convention on Tax Matters with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on September 14, 2016 which is going to be operational next year. He said after the operational of this convention, it will be impossible to keep tax evasion money in these countries.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that those who have billions of rupees in their Swiss accounts will no longer be able to escape the law, as all the details of their accounts will be revealed to the public. According to an estimate at least $200 billion of Pakistani money was stashed away in Swiss banks.

Quoting a statement by a Swiss banker and a former Swiss government minister, Irfan Sheikh stated that $97 billion worth of Pakistani capital was deposited only in one bank. Similarly, Micheline Calmy-Rey, a former Swiss foreign minister, is reported to have put the amount of Pakistani money hidden in Switzerland at $200 billion — a statement that was never contradicted.

To put the enormity of this find into perspective, Pakistan’s total external debt stands at $150 billion and its gross domestic product is around $300 billion. The country can, theoretically, pay off all its debt with the money in Swiss banks. “The Swiss government has offered Pakistan to sign such an agreement in the third quarter of current month that will enable us to exchange information on tax evaded money,” Chairman remarked.

Irfan Iqbal said that the process had started way back in 2013 when finance minister had proposed the federal cabinet to allow finance ministry to enter into a new agreement with Swiss authorities by revisiting the previous treaty of 2005 about minimum exchange of information. Initially the Swiss authorities had proposed strict conditions for such an agreement, but government continued deliberation with them that culminated in reaching an understanding for having an agreement.

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