Return of Black Money from Swiss Banks


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Swiss banks had always been where the ‘black money’ of the tax dodger businessmen, corrupt politicians, greedy drug and arms dealers, corrupt bureaucrats and other such criminals is generally parked since long. The documents called ‘Swiss Leaks’ revealed that the huge amount of money stolen from our country is all lying in Swiss banks.  During 2011, succumbing to international pressure, Switzerland introduced a new legislation ending its 300 years banking secrecy to make it convenient for the countries to recover the assets stolen by politicians and other criminals and hidden in its banks. During 2014, Federal Minister for Finance, Ishaq Dar had announced talks to be held with Swiss authorities in August 2014 for bringing back more than US$200 billion, more than three times of the current external debt, from Swiss banks. The people of Pakistan fail to understand why the government is adamant in not holding talks or even writing a letter to the Swiss authorities even by now. Like PPP, the sitting government’s actions are against the will of the people who wants the nation’s money returned.

To be frank, it seems impossible for the current breed of politicians to bring this money back; it can be brought back if our government is too vigilante. But there is no political will to get back that money as many politicians sitting in the government themselves are involved in that black money. Our ruling class and their connected people have mortgaged Pakistan with external powers and now emotionally appealing the people abroad to send foreign exchange for their looting again. Western security agencies like MI6 and CIA etc. are fully aware of the original and fake names, bank details, the volume of deposits, and value of assets of everyone. In turn, they are using the current so-called ‘democrats’ rulers to do the things which they could not do previously even during Musharraf regime. The only reason seems to be that the government is delaying talks with Swiss Authorities so that money may be moved by their colleagues to other offshore banks in the world.

Certainly the national institutions and law enforcing agencies were purposely weakened by the politicians who were responsible for illicit financial transfers to safe havens. The lawmakers protected all provisions and loopholes in laws to promote black money generation and movement. They had never been eager to build effective institutions to promote transparency, accountability and good governance. The black money belongs to corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and politically well-connected businessmen. They think their wealth stashed in Swiss Banks is an effective passport to their respect, power and influence. So there is no likelihood of taking any concrete step by the government to bring back the looted money. Stealing this money simply means robbing the common people from their opportunities to live and grow. The economic situation has become fragile due to heavy theft of national resources. Some cases of politicians time and again surfaced in the press regarding the theft of public money and its transfer to Swiss banks. This happened only when these corrupt politicians were voted out of power. Finance Minister is completely toeing the policies of Mr. Zardari, whether it is getting heavy internal and external debts or hiding the loot and corruption. Policies of Finance Minister have taken the country to the brink of destruction, and life has become miserable for the poor, and they have been forced to commit suicides. The prime minister has proved by his actions he is with corruption and plunder mafia instead of being with the people of Pakistan.

All those thieves who looted and plundered trillions and trillions of the public money and deposited in the offshore accounts abroad need to be hauled up completely. There is no accountability culture in the country. Nobody is there to prevent their plunder. Even today they are creating artificial crisis after crisis in different sectors like oil, gas, power, and other vital sectors, escalating the hardships of the ordinary citizens, merely for their personal gains.

Our rulers have said goodbye to security, education and health sectors for which they are constitutionally bound to provide. They prefer to produce expensive electricity using furnace oil through IPPs instead of constructing new dams for low price energy generation. In universities, only the students having millions of rupees can get admission, and poor and lower middle-class parents cannot even think of providing higher education to their children. Merit has been rooted out completely from the country. Politicians are openly selling public sector employments. All the people who have stashed their money in Swiss Banks have joined hands with each other. A ruthless, cruel and exploitative system is prevailing in the country in the name of ‘democracy’, and the common man has been deprived of to meet even his basic demands in this cruel system.

Now change has become a dire necessity of the day to take the country out of crises and resolve people’s problems. A strict and indiscriminate accountability can control corruption and misuse of funds. The people who need to fight corruption, combat organized crime and implement effective tax systems are themselves part of these dirty games. The sitting ruling class in Federal Government is not at all keen to bring back the stolen money, has resorted to delaying tactics. Unless and until the rulers bring back their wealth lying abroad in the country, neither investment can be increased in the country, nor could the economy of the country improve. The only possible solution left is to the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan to direct the Federal Government to disclose all the names of account holders of Swiss Banks and to take concrete steps to get back black money without any further loss of time.

Shaukat Masood Zafar
Shaukat Masood Zafar
A well known freelance columnist writing for daily Pakistan Observer, and several other national and international websites and newspapers. Economy, Politics, and Agricultural & Rural Development are especially areas of his interest.


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