Pakistan to access $200 billions of Pakistanis in Swiss Banks
Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid on Thursday said the government was taking serious measures to engage Swiss government in order to get access of the $ 200 billion of Pakistanis, reportedly deposited in Swiss banks.
Replying to a question in the Senate on behalf of finance minister, he said the government was working to seek help of the new Swiss Policy which has now allowed Swiss government to exchange heretofore confidential information about ill-gotten monies, stashed up in Swiss banking industry.
He said exchange of tax information was the new mechanism for catching the tax-dodgers and the corrupt who siphon off and hide their ill-gotten wealth in Swiss Banks and other tax havens.
Accordingly, he added the government decided to review the existing Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (ADTA), particularly its Article on the Exchange of Information.
The new Article, upon formal signing of the ADTA, will oblige the Swiss Authorities to exchange all the requested information, including heretofore confidential bank accounts.
He said the re-negotiated Pak-Swiss Treaty was however still under the process of review in respect of certain other Articles of the Convention.
He said Pakistan had taken up the matter with Switzerland in December, 2014 for the second round of negotiations in order to settle the issues related to other Articles of the Treaty with mutual consent through negotiations.
He said the Swiss Authorities had recently confirmed for the second round of negotiations and Pakistan had sought convenient dates for the purpose.
In the meantime, however, simultaneous efforts had been initiated by Pakistan to become member of internationally sponsored initiatives like Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Tax Information and the Multilateral Convention for Mutual Administrative Assistance.
These steps would also help Pakistan receive and send information under Automatic Exchange. It also provides a strong signal of its commitment to fight tax fraud and evasion at international level.
He said Pakistan's integration with the rest of the world through the mentioned frameworks would help retrieve in the upcoming years all important bank account, dividend, interest and asset ownership information, not only from Switzerland but also from other tax havens, and tax it accordingly.
He said the operational design through which advantage of the changes in Swiss laws could be taken is by way of exchange of information.