News Analysis |
In an interesting development, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday that it has recovered Rs167 million from Pakistani citizens holding undisclosed foreign bank accounts and assets abroad. According to media reports, the FBR also told the court that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan is yet to pay Rs29.4m in taxes and fines pertaining to her assets in UAE.
FBR Chairman Jahanzeb Khan made the claim while briefing a three-member SC bench on progress in the case so far. It is important to mention here that in February 2018, Justice Nisar had taken Suo Motu notice of foreign bank accounts held by Pakistani citizens.
If the government is able to properly get back all the money laundered so far it is likely to counter the ongoing economic crisis smoothly.
He was of the view that there were reports circulating that people in positions of power have been looting money and transferring it to foreign countries. In a hearing of the case in Dec 2018, the court had assailed the FBR chairman and an income tax official for “slowing down” the investigation and “putting the case in cold storage”.
In the last hearing when it was inquired by the SC that what has the FBR done so far it informed the court about its progress. “What happened of the 21 model cases that were identified?” asked Justice Ijazul Ahsan. “Rs167m have been recovered so far, whereas notices for the recovery of [another] Rs147m have been sent,” the FBR head answered.
The FBR chief further said that of the total recovered amount, Rs100m came from Agha Afzal, while Imtiaz Afzal paid Rs10m. “Further investigation is underway,” he added. The top judge remarked that “the sooner the money came to its origin, the better it was for the economy”.
It is important to mention here that since the Prime Minister Imran Khan assumed his office he has made it clear to everyone that money laundered in previous years shall be brought back to the country. PM Khan has also declined to give any NRO to embattled Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari.
Interestingly, the opposition made all hue and cry to equate the accountability of public holders with that of private business owners but analysts believe the case of Aleema Khan, a businesswoman, cannot be equated with that of Nawaz Sharif, three times Prime Minister.
FBR is said to be on various high profile cases at the moment and the intention is to probe into them in order to get black money back. If the government is able to properly get back all the money laundered so far it is likely to counter the ongoing economic crisis smoothly.