HC Deb 12 March 1964 vol 691 cc638-9
3. Mr. Tomney

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make representations to the State Bank of Pakistan with a view to the transfer to this country of moneys, credited to the late Mr. Nonis by the Provident and Gratuity Fund of Western Railways in Pakistan, and now the property of his widow who is resident in this country.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. John Tilney)

The remittance of money from Pakistan to this country is governed by the State Bank of Pakistan's Exchange Control Regulations.

Without knowing the facts of the case, I cannot tell whether there are any grounds for an approach to the Pakistan authorities. But if the hon. Member writes to me giving me the details I will consider whether there is any action I can properly take.

Mr. Tomney

I appreciate the Minister's responsibilities to the Commonwealth, which are now being stretched tight, but this kind of thing is simply financial nonsense. This was a case of a person who earned entitlement to a pension and then came to reside in this country. His widow is unable to get the pension payments in this country from the Pakistan State Bank. She then becomes chargeable to the National Assistance Fund. Despite the overtures which I have made—and they have been consistent and steady over a long period—the Pakistan Government will not release this money. This is a simple book-keeping arrangement. All we have to do is to block the corresponding amount of sterling in this country—[Interruption.] Shut up.

Sir P. Agnew

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is not that an unparliamentary expression? I was only trying to help the hon. Member to couch his observations in the form of a question.

Mr. Tomney

I apologise to the hon. Member if I said anything which I should not have said, but I was trying to put an intelligent question.

Mr. S. Silverman

Why not? My hon. Friend is perfectly right.

Mr. Tomney

This is financial nonsense. All we have to do is to block a corresponding amount of sterling here—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have no power to exempt anybody from the Rules of the House. This is Question Time. Can the hon. Member say what he has to say at least in interrogatory form?

Mr. Tomney

Yes, Mr. Speaker; have gone most of the way. Will the Minister make strong overtures to the Pakistan Government to release this State pension to this woman in this country?

Mr. Tilney

I should like to have details first. This is the first that one has heard of any details. Perhaps the hon. Member will write to me.

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