The Senate was informed that a treaty has been signed with the Swiss authorities to gain access to information regarding the bank accounts of Pakistani citizens in that country.

Responding to a question during the question hour in Upper House of Parliament, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said the treaty signed earlier by the previous government in 2013 was incomplete in some respects as it did not give information of account holders. 

The Minister of State added that excluding Switzerland information from twenty-nine countries have started coming.  He expressed the hope that process of receiving data from Switzerland will begin next month.

The Minister of State said that all territories where Pakistani citizens may stash their funds are in FBR’s focus. He said government is taking all possible measures to obtain information about the Pakistani nationals’ assets in other countries including money kept in Swiss Banks for the application of tax laws.

Hammad Azhar said that upon receipt of actionable tax information about Pakistani tax-resident persons, if the funds remitted out are found to be unexplained, tax demand could be raised that is recoverable against the assets located in Switzerland under the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

Senator Raza Rabbani has expressed concerns over efforts being made to dysfunction the Parliament.

Taking part in the debate over Presidential Address to both the House of the Parliament on 17th September this year, he said Parliament should be made fulcrum to formulate Pakistan’s foreign policy.

He said a Parliamentary committee on national security should immediate be constituted to look into the matters pertaining to country’s security and foreign relations. He said efforts to break political parties and create forward blocks should be avoided.

He said selective accountability is not acceptable as it should be across the board. He said using accountability as a tool to forward a political agenda has not produced positive results in the past. He said politicians, executive, judiciary and military bureaucracy should be equally treated when we talk about accountability and misuse of power.

Abdul Qayyum said presidential address lacked any guidance for the government to improve governance and a way forward to put the country on path of development and progress.

He said presidential address should be realistic, above party line and reflective of safeguarding national interest which was missing in the speech made by the President.