News Desk |
NAB’s former Deputy Prosecutor General Raja Amir Abbas has said that the Government of Pakistan has set a historic precedent of recovery of looted wealth from abroad. “For the first time the government has taken initiatives which can formally bind obligations on both parties to provide information and subsequent recovery of illicit wealth generated outside the Islamabad jurisdiction”, Raja Amir Abbas said. He made this statement while speaking to Doctor Moeed Pirzada on his prime-time show ‘Live with Moeed Pirzada’ at GNN.
The government claims to have investigated and unveiled certain data and records of Pakistani foreign properties and assets. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar said the government has signed an agreement for information regarding money laundering with 27 countries in order to bring the culprits to justice, including, UK, UAE, and Switzerland. He made these statements in a press conference on December 6th in Islamabad.
“Imran Khan also raised questions against the performance of NAB which became the core element in delay of government decisions”, Amir Abbas said.
Akbar said that “apart from 27 countries, we’ll be able to get information from around 200 countries in near future. And, the Asset Recovery Unit has traced assets of worth 5.3 billion dollars in 10 countries.” Meanwhile, on November 12, 2018, Iftikhar Durrani said that properties worth 15 billion dollars were acquired by Pakistanis in Dubai only during the last 10 years. He said ARU is working in collaboration with other institutions to trace the ill-gotten money.
The said agreements enabled Pakistan to investigate its citizen foreign assets detail; how it is generated; and how much tax has been paid to the government under law. “The previous government had spent whole four years in concluding foreign recovery and information agreements but failed to ratify them. Whatever the reason was for delaying, the PTI administration was quick in finalizing it”, Amir Abbas said.
The optimism factor in government developments in the field of assets recovery is based on the fact that FBR, NAB, and Banks will be empowered for independent investigations outside Pakistan.
“The previous MoUs did not permit FBR and NAB institutions to claim jurisdiction in foreign assets inquiry. But, the agreement reached on sharing information of assets at Banking level will facilitate these two institutions as well”, Amir Abbas said.
Moreover, the government’s commitment to at least freeze the illicit foreign assets is still on the waiting list in the climax. “An understanding was reached to freeze the foreign assets until the final verdict. But, so far no clear action on the part of government has seen or may I don’t know”, Amir Abbas said.
The preconceived notion is that the PTI government is targeting politicians only which is factually incorrect “The media has hyped up this notion”, Amir Abbas said. On October 6, 2018, Shahzad Akbar assessed that over 10,000 properties of Pakistan were detected in UK, UAE which was owned by not only politicians but people from various walks of life.
NAB’s own reluctance in opening these cases for years and years has also come under sharp scrutiny as the Prime Minister expressed his concerns over the delay. “Imran Khan also raised questions against the performance of NAB which became the core element in delay of government decisions”, Amir Abbas said.