Wednesday, March 14, 2018

CJP laments lack of information on Pakistanis' names in Panama, Paradise leaks

Supreme Court has taken suo motu notice of foreign bank accounts of Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar regretted on Wednesday the lack of government effort in curtailing the flow of capital from the country. 

The Supreme Court is hearing a suo motu case related to foreign bank accounts held by Pakistanis.

During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that nothing is known so far of the Pakistanis named in the Panama and Paradise leaks, which revealed the existence of scores of offshore companies in foreign tax-havens. 

The chief justice observed further that the government could have enacted an ordinance to stem the flow of capital. 

A senior Federal Board of Revenue official informed the court that an amnesty scheme will be offered in the of this month for Pakistanis to declare their foreign assets. 

On February 1, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of funds deposited in foreign bank accounts and foreign assets held by Pakistani citizens.

Chief Justice Nisar had remarked that many Pakistanis in positions of power hold accounts in foreign banks and have been looting the country’s money and transferring it abroad through illegal channels.

He had observed further that the money looted and deposited in overseas bank accounts is a national asset and has to be brought back to Pakistan.

In November last year, names of several Pakistanis, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz among them, surfaced in a new database of documents, Paradise Papers, released by the International Consortium of Journalists.

The Paradise Papers contained data of over 25,000 companies spanning 180 countries, from 1950 to 2016.

Earlier, in April 2016, a trove of 11.5 million digital records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed how many of the world's wealthy used offshore companies to stash assets. 

The data, leaked to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, was shared with the ICIJ and came to be known as Paradise Papers.