Ever since Imran Khan has come into power, the austerity drive and the task of bringing back looted money which is stashed abroad are among the top priorities for the new government.
While there was early progress on the austerity drive – advertising the auction of expensive vehicles of PM House and cutting down expenses – the efforts to bring back the illegal assets back to the country was still under question. The efforts have started to bear fruit as Pakistani authorities have traced 2,750 properties in Dubai amounting to a massive Rs 4.2 trillion.
The authorities, including the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have started taking action against 5,000 extremely rich Pakistanis who have acquired properties in UAE by violating Pakistani laws.
The authorities have already discovered properties worth Rs 4.2 trillion and inquiries have been initiated through field offices. Earlier, the FIA initiated criminal inquiries against 662 property holders, however, these had to be stopped due to the tax amnesty scheme 2018 and non-provision of data by the Dubai Land Department. These inquiries have been reopened now.
The anti-corruption wing of the FIA has started crackdown against 621 properties revealed by another source. The confidential report revealed that:
FIA has till date, taken cognisance of 2,750 undisclosed properties (apartments etc.) of Pakistani nationals held in the UAE on various names and inquiries are underway.
Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Rules have been drafted by amicus curiae, Ahmer Bilal Sufi, which will be used to make MLA request to money-laundering havens to recover illegal assets. The MLA Rules need to be approved by the apex court of Pakistan before sending requests.
The report mentioned that Pakistanis own property worth $150 billion (Rs. 18.47 Trillion) in the UAE, $100 billion in the US and UK, and $200 billion in Switzerland.
Assets worth Rs 1,003 billion ($8.1 billion) were declared by Pakistanis in the tax amnesty scheme 2018 and a majority of these were in the UAE. The report recommended expansion of the scope and the terms of reference and these should not be limited to the UK and USA as Pakistan is among the top 3 money-laundering source countries – as per the British government.
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Via The News