LAHORE: Federal Investigation Agency Director General Bashir Ahmed Memon has told the Supreme Court that Pakistanis had invested AED 4,240 billion in UAE and identified 635 properties owned by them.
Bashir Ahmed Memon appeared before the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, which is hearing the case of foreign assets and accounts of Pakistanis in foreign countries.
State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa and Federal Finance Secretary Arif Ahmad Khan also appeared before the bench in compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders. The CJP had taken suo motu notice of the matter.
Submitting a report before the bench, the FIA DG said he had names, telephone numbers and addresses of all those who had made investment in the UAE. “The inquiry is still underway and we have also started criminal investigation against the suspects,” the FIA DG told the court.
Federal Finance Secretary Arif Ahmad Khan informed the court that total debt of the country, both foreign and domestic, had reached Rs 24.3 trillion. He said $ 8 trillion were taken as the foreign debt and Rs 16 trillion borrowed from the local banks and other sources during the last six years.
“We are facing a vicious circle,” said the finance secretary, hopelessness to deal with the challenge of foreign and the local debt was evident from his countenance.
CJP Mian Saqib Nisar expressed serious concerns over the situation and asked the finance secretary how the country could come out of this circle. “We have attached all hopes to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). No drinking water is there in Gwadar while foreign remittances have also come down remarkably.”
The finance secretary seconded the concern of the chief justice, saying everyone has attached high hopes to the CPEC, but only the foundational work has o far been done on the project. He pointed out that there is a deficit of 16 billion dollars to 17 billion dollars which could only be met through foreign debt. “We are living far beyond our means,” regretted the finance secretary.
The chief justice asked him how this challenging situation could be dealt with. The secretary said the volume of the national economy is $350 billion at present and could be boosted by expanding tax collection, relying more on local sources. He said at present Rs 1 trillion was allocated for development and Rs 2 trillion were borrowed, a situation in which the economy was hard to progress.
FIA DG Bashir Ahmad Memon pointed out that the investigation of bank accounts of the citizens living abroad is not possible, the major hurdle being absence of mutual agreements with other countries. He said Pakistan had agreement with some countries only about corruption, but no other treaties/agreements had been made to deal with such issues.