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Stopping capital flight

Stopping capital flight

There has been a plenty of mudslinging from both sides of the divide in parliament in a politically charged atmosphere over Panama leaks. The opposition parties blame the prime minister and his family for investment in offshore companies of the money which was allegedly looted from the country. Whereas the prime minister and his colleagues have out rightly rejected the claims and are demanding an inquiry into the allegations to clear their position. The real situation, whether the money referred to the offshore companies belonged to the government or was acquired through corruption, will be cleared after the investigations. However, the facts on ground indicate that capital flight from the country is a regular feature. The government makes harsh and tough laws to be implemented by a machinery which lacks capacity and capability to do anything in fair manner. The results is failure of the laws and failure of the policies.

The people are not happy with the official cadre and the investors always seek a place to dump their money which ensures safety of their life and protection of their property. As a matter of fact, the tough laws weaken the writ of the government in every discipline. People find it easy to invest in Dubai, Sri Lanka, Malaysia or any other country where they are not asked the source of income and where the living conditions are much better than Pakistan. Thousands of Pakistanis are involved in real estate business in Malaysia and Dubai and hundreds of others are settled in Canada and England. The people at the helm of affairs never try to understand why people prefer to invest in foreign lands and in many cases they are also involved in hiding their legal money in foreign banks. The opposition parties in the country are demanding investigations into the offshore scam but it will turn out to be a futile exercise.

Some may argue that citizens of many developed nations are also involved in money laundering and investment in offshore companies. However, something illegal is illegal and cannot be justified in any circumstances. Pakistan is an emerging market and it needs investment not only from within the country, but also from abroad. The incidents of money laundering and corruption send wrong signals to the world about the economic situation of the country. The time has come we have to put our own house in order without pointing finger at any other nation. The government must come up with plans to protect whatever legal or illegal money as the money belongs to the people of this country. And it must stop capital flight through attractive investment policies and not through security personnel at airports.