Friday March 24, 2023

Pandora Papers: PM Imran Khan forms cell to probe disclosures

A three-member cell was set up under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission after Pandora Leaks surfaced

By News Desk & Our Correspondent
October 05, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan set up three-member high level investigation cell on the matter of Pandora Papers on Monday.

In a tweet, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that the prime minister of Pakistan has set up a high level cell under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission to investigate the Pandora leaks. “The cell will hold everyone involved in the Pandora leaks accountable and the facts will be made public,” he said.

The development comes after PM Imran Khan held a meeting to discuss the leaks and the overall country’s political situation, with senior PTI leaders and federal ministers in attendance, sources said. An initial report related to the matter was presented to the premier after which the participants of the meeting briefed him on the actions that are being considered against the Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers leak, sources said.

After the issue of Pandora Papers surfaced, a three-member cell was set up under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission. The cell will investigate Pandora Papers. Representatives from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the NAB will be part of the cell, reported private news channels.

It said that the Law Ministry will look after all the legal matters of the cell. The cell will investigate the assets of the names of all Pakistanis who were included in the Pandora Papers.

It was also reported that the cell will see if these people paid taxes or not. “The cell will look into whether the sources of income of these individuals were legitimate, while it will also investigate whether these individuals have declared assets, whether money laundering has taken place or not.”

Reacting to the shocking revelation of Pandora Papers, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to investigate all Pakistanis involved in Pandora Papers. Taking to twitter, the prime minister said that his government will investigate all citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers. “If any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action. I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis,” he added. “We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption and laundered out to financial “havens”.

The UN SG’s Panel FACTI calculated a staggering $7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax havens,” PM Khan said in another tweet.

In another tweet, Imran Khan said, “If unchecked, inequalities between rich and poor states will increase as poverty rises in the latter. This in turn will lead to a flood of economic migration from the poor to the rich states, causing further economic and social instability across the globe.”

Earlier, another global scandal same like Panama Papers unfolded as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released Pandora Papers (Panama-2) on Sunday.

According to the reports, the Pandora Papers, an investigation uncovering financial secrets held by high-profile individuals across the world, includes the names of more than 700 Pakistanis.

The leaked documents revealed that key politicians including federal cabinet members, opposition party leaders, “have secretly owned an array of companies”. The names of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, Ishaq Dar’s son, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the brother of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, among others, with alleged links to offshore companies, are included in the Pandora Papers.

Axact’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh, Raja Nadir Pervez, Mohammad Ali Tabba, Mir Khalid Adam, some business and banking personalities have also been named in Pandora Papers. The names of two sons of former air chief Abbas Khattak, son-in-law of Lt Gen (R) Khalid Maqbool Hassan Latif , businessman Tariq Saeed Sehgal and wife of Lt Gen (R) Shafaat Ullah have also been surfaced in the Pandora leaks.

Omer Bakhtiar transferred a $1 million apartment in his mother’s name through an offshore company. In 2018, Omar transferred an apartment in his mother’s name in the Chelsea area of London. Among the Pakistani personalities, four offshore companies have been named of Shaukat Tarin and his family.

Aleem Khan’s one, Sharjeel Memon’s three, Ali Dar’s two, Monis Elahi’s two, Faisal Vawda’s one offshore company has emerged.

Faisal Vawda set up an offshore company in 2012 to invest in UK properties, the Pandora Papers show. The leak documents further revealed that the son of former finance adviser to the prime minister Waqar Masood Khan co-owned a company based in the British Virgin Islands.

The secret documents also expose offshore dealings of King of Jordan Shah Abdullah, Qatar’s ruler, the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the prime minister of the Czech Republic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The files also detail the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unofficial minister of propaganda” and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the United States, Turkey and other nations.