ISLAMABAD - The government despite political turmoil in the country has not changed the schedule for sending a delegation to Switzerland, as a team will leave tomorrow (Monday) to bring back $200 billion that were illegally deposited in Swiss banks.
"I have approved travel plan of the delegation to go to Switzerland to negotiate with Swiss authorities to upgrade the Pak-Swiss tax treaty, as this political chaos is not affecting the working of the government," Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told The Nation exclusively on Saturday. Swiss authorities have also been clearly conveyed about the arrival of the Pakistani delegation without any change in programme. "The PML-N government has good intention to bring back around $200 billion of the country that were illegally deposited in Swiss banks," Dar, who is much busy in political parleys to resolve political deadlock situation, shared with this scribe.
Dar said he had moved summary in the federal cabinet seeking its approval to renegotiate the existing (deficient) Pakistan-Switzerland tax treaty, which was duly approved.
To a question about exact amount of money, the finance minister said the amount of money could be less or more than $200 billion.
The Swiss parliament has recently passed the "Return of Illicit Assets Act (RIAA)," a law that will make it possible for many developing countries, like Pakistan, to recover the billions of dollars shifted to the Alpine state by unscrupulous individuals and companies.
The government in order to speed up the process would also seek the UK government's guideline to deal with the lengthy process, as earlier London had undergone the process to bring back assets from Swiss banks. Other developed countries like USA, UK and Germany have reportedly completed this process for bringing back their money in around five to seven years.
The minister had earlier shared with media that the PML-N government would seek the guidelines of the UK revenue and custom department to perform this process at an appropriate time.
According to the strategy, the FBR had taken up the matter with the ministry of foreign affairs to approach the government of Switzerland to renegotiate the existing tax treaty and seek a suitable schedule and choice of venue to start the negotiations at the earliest possible date.
The Swiss authorities had expressed willingness to renegotiate the tax treaty either on July 8-10, 2014, or August 26-28, 2014. "The Federal Board of Revenue has accepted the Swiss proposal to hold negotiations on August 26-28, 2014, to upgrade the existing Pak-Swiss Tax Treaty."
Around five month ago Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal had told the National Assembly that the PML-N government would bring back assets of the country illegally deposited with the Swiss banks.