News Analysis |
Special Assistant to Prime minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar on Friday has stated that the asset recovery unit has started its working. He highlighted several achievements of the Unit which would have been big news but was drowned in the ruckus created by the arrest of Opposition leader, Shahbaz Sharif
Addressing a news conference along with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in Islamabad today, he said members of the asset recovery unit have been selected.
He said details of more than 10,000 properties owned by Pakistanis have been traced in Dubai and England.
The prime minister’s special assistant said that the Swiss government has agreed to cooperate with Pakistan while the cooperation will soon be sought from the German government as well.
“This is a huge success,” he added. The premier’s special assistant further said, “We have formed a task force which will ensure the money sent abroad is brought back.” Shahzad Akbar said the list of properties have been divided into two portions, one for politically exposed people and one for rest of the people.
He asserted that politically exposed persons would use the route of naming their properties on family and servants to avoid scrutiny. The government was taking extreme care in order to properly investigate the properties before moving on to the next step.
“Out of the total, the government has prepared a list of top 895 properties to carry further investigation while around 300 people have been served with notice and were summoned by the unit to clarify their stance.
“The politically exposed people will be investigated in terms of money laundering and will be asked that how they managed to own such properties worth billions of rupees,” to which, he added that people who were not politically exposed but owned such properties would also be scrutinized as they also committed crime by hiding their properties and evading huge amount of taxes.
The Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said that the process of across the board accountability has been started.
He informed that among these properties, two flats in London were registered in the personal name of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, and these properties were not known to anyone before.
He said officials from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will investigate the cases. He said a progress report of the recovery unit is being submitted in Supreme Court of Pakistan fortnightly.
The prime minister’s special assistant said that the Swiss government has agreed to cooperate with Pakistan while the cooperation will soon be sought from the German government as well. It is noteworthy that the German government has the record of all accounts until 2013-14.
“India has already procured such information from the German government and we hope that soon we will also manage to get information about Swiss accounts of the Pakistani nationals,” he remarked.
He further stated that bilateral agreements with different countries with respect to the exchange of information also needed to be revised and the government was also working in this regard. He gave the example of the agreement with the US where the US government could access Pakistan’s accounts but Islamabad could not.
The minister said that the operation against land mafia has also started in a full swing. He said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) got a benefit of 35,000 kanals.
Furthermore, he said that the draft of mutual legal assistance has been prepared, and it will be presented in the Federal Cabinet meeting soon. He added that the preparation of the whistleblower act is in a final stage, and it will also be presented in the next Cabinet meeting.
The Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said that the process of across the board accountability has been started. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has clearly advised protecting the poor people of the country. Fawad Chaudhry said that notices have been issued to Nawaz Sharif and his sons for using government helicopter.
Read more: Shahbaz’s Arrest: Who gains & Who loses?
He said that a notice has also been issued to Shahbaz Sharif for using an airplane. The minister said that the operation against land mafia has also started in a full swing. He said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) got a benefit of 35,000 kanals.