(By Dr Shahid Qureshi – London Post): – HE Senator Ishaq Dar, Finance Minister of Pakistan wrote to the Swiss Attorney General for the recovery of £200 billion of Pakistani money deposited in Swiss Banks.
Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar
Government of Pakistan
Apartment No.18, Minister’s Enclave, Islamabad
Permanent Address: 7-H, Gulberg-III, Lahore
Home Number: 042-35881594
Mobile Number: 0321-8478603
Fax Number: 042-35881521
22nd January 2016
Office of the Attorney General
Government of Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 462 45 79, Fax: +41 58 462 45 07
Re: Recovery of Pakistan’s $200 billion in Swiss banks
1. I am writing to you as per advice by a prominent British lawyer who is also member of British Parliament Rt. Hon: Rehman Chisti. While speaking at Pakistan Conference held at RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) on October 1st October 2015 Rt. Hon Rehman Chisti said: a letter from government of Pakistan (Attorney General) must be sent to the Swiss Government seeking release of information as well as return of the corruption money deposited of Pakistanis in Swiss Banks. He was responding to a question of senior British Journalist Dr Shahid Qureshi editor of The London Post.
2. I would like to inform you that I have submitted in writing in the Parliament of Pakistan (National Assembly) that: “government is seriously considering steps to bring back illegal assets from Swiss banks.
3. I told the National Assembly in writing that the government is seriously mulling to exchange information regarding the illegal money deposited in the Swiss banks under new laws. The new Act of 2010 allows the Swiss government to exchange the confidential information regarding the illegal amount deposited in the Swiss banking industry.
4. I also said that the Pakistan-Switzerland tax agreement is unsatisfactory and amendments are required in order to gain access to Pakistani capital.
5. I have said that the Federal cabinet has approved the summary to review the agreement with the Swiss government.
6. My Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Afzal is of the view that the names and accounts of those Pakistanis could be accessed who have deposited unauthorized money in the Swiss banks if the amendments are approved in the Pakistan-Switzerland agreement.
7. I told the parliament that a delegation will visit Switzerland from August 26 to 28, 2014 to bring back the illegal money from the Swiss banks. It may be mentioned here that Pakistanis have deposited almost $200 billion illegally in the Swiss bank accounts while the total sum of the cash deposited illegally is 7000 billion dollars.
8. In a detailed response to a question raised by Dr Arif Alvi (MNA), the minister quoted statements by a Swiss banker and a former Swiss government minister: “One of the directors of Credit Suisse AG stated on the record that $97 billion worth of Pakistani capital was deposited only in his bank. Similarly, Micheline Calmy-Rey, a former Swiss foreign minister, is reported to have put the amount of Pakistani money hidden in Switzerland at $200 billion — a statement that was never contradicted,” he revealed.
9. Saying that he believed the figures were correct, Mr Dar said the situation called for immediate corrective action. To put the enormity of this find into perspective, Pakistan’s total external debt stands at $150 billion and its gross domestic product is said to be around $300 billion. The country can, theoretically, pay off all its debt with the money in Swiss banks and still have nearly a quarter of it left over”.
10. I told the parliament that the government of Pakistan was working under the ambit of a new Swiss law, known as ‘The Restitution of Illicit Assets Act, 2010’ (RIAA), which allows the Swiss government to exchange information — which was considered confidential up to now — regarding money that may have been obtained illegally and deposited in Swiss banks. He also briefed the house on the steps the government was taking to get the money back.
11. I must inform you that: “Pakistan’s federal cabinet in a meeting on Sept 20, 2013 had already approved renegotiation of the current Pak-Swiss tax treaty and Federal Board of Revenue officials and the Swiss authorities concerned had agreed to meet in August this year to upgrade the existing agreement”.
12. I must inform you that I will be informing the World Bank body to assist Pakistan in this process:
The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR)
The StAR Secretariat
1818 H street NW
Washington DC 20433 USA
In view of the above I would request you to kindly issue a disclosure with the names and amount of money, assets and wealth deposited of all Pakistanis in Swiss Banks so we could start process of the return of the assets stolen from Pakistan by individuals and companies.
I Thank you in advance for your assistance. I look forward to hear from you soon.
Senator Muhmmad Ishaq Dar
Government of Pakistan
Disclaimer: This is an imaginary letter but Ishaq Dar is welcome to use it by paying postage stamps before sending to Swiss Government.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He is a PhD in Political Psychology and also studied Law at a British University)