Pakistan’s FBR has stated that $200 billion stashed in Swiss Bank accounts by Pakistanis cannot be recovered. It seems that FBR and Federal Government is unaware that on the request by Nigeria, $700 million in Swiss Bank accounts, belonging to corrupt late former head of state General Sani Abacha have been returned to Nigeria in 2013. This fact has been confirmed by Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Hans- Rudolf Hodel and Switzerland. Both Switzerland and Nigerian government have also agreed to request World Bank to review use of all funds on welfare projects.

Under pressure from OECD and G20, Swiss Government decided in 2009 to abolish distinction between tax evasion and tax fraud in dealings with foreign clients. International agreements signed in 2013, sponsored by OECD, approved by Swiss Parliament require Swiss Banks to align banking practices with those of other countries and in effect end special secrecy that clients of Swiss Bank enjoyed in past. No American citizen can open a Swiss Bank account unless he declares in a signed legal document they have no outstanding financial obligation to IRS. In 2013, Swiss Parliament approved a law that allows Swiss Banks to cooperate with US tax authorities as specified in FACTA.

If Pakistan State, its executive and FBR have the political will to recover tax evasion by Pakistanis the least that can be recovered is tax evaded which comes to between $50billion at 25% and $60 billion at 30% tax rate but this can only happen if tax recovery is on the agenda and priority of our establishment, bureaucracy and political elite of Pakistan. Unfortunately reality is that nobody wants to set this precedent of tax recovery. Almost one-third of all worldwide funds, held outside their country of origin amounting to $2.6 Trillion are in Swiss Bank accounts, mostly black money belonging to corrupt politicians, arms and ammunition dealers, dictators, mobsters, drug dealers, tax evading traders and terrorists.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, June 15.