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Monday October 25, 2021

Jang Economic Session: Pandora Papers sensationalised more in Pakistan, say experts

October 09, 2021

LAHORE:Pandora Papers were made more sensationalised in Pakistan while $250 million capital was taken out of the country for start-ups during the last year which is unfortunate.

These views were expressed by the discussants in Jang Economic Session on “Realities of Pandora Leaks.” The panelists were Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Nauman Kabir, Khalid Piracha, Dr Yasir Mehmood, Sohail Lashari and Maqsood Butt while the event was moderated by Sikandar Lodhi.

Nauman Kabir said the prime minister’s decision of not taking action without investigation was appreciable while a high-level cell was constituted which would submit its report. He said globally offshore companies were made for investment which was not bad while in Pakistan it was considered a wrongdoing. He said Pandora Leaks proved that investors were not trusting in Pakistan’s investment climate. He suggested the government take steps cautiously as investors were closely monitoring the whole issue. Khalid Piracha said that investment would move where it was safe while creation of offshore companies was a form of capital flight. He said if local and foreign investors would be protected, the situation would improve it would control capital flight. He believed that Pandora would also become irrelevant like Panama Papers, keeping in views the overall behavior of society. He stressed the need of restructuring of institutions through reforms.

Dr Yasir Mehmood said the Pandora Leaks were more sensationalised in Pakistan while it was not being discussed at the international forums. A majority of leaders objected to inclusion of their names in it while few are agreed on investigations. He said globally people made taxpaying and non-taxpaying companies while if offshore company was made through tax paid income and money was transferred through legal banking channels then there was no harm in it. Sohail Lashari said that Pandora Leaks was a non serious document like its non serious name with an objective to defame targeted people while there was need to investigate the objective of the leaks. He said pressure on Pakistan could be increased through FATF and the leaks while only solution to avoid this was documentation of the economy. He said globally hidden thing was consider an illegal which was incorrect as establishing offshore companies within regulations was legal. He said the FBR and SBP should play their effective role and discouraged such acts. Maqsood Butt said that majority of references of Dubai and other countries were not listed in the Pandora Leaks which created doubt that it was leaked to get fame and popularity. He said the names of those who gave explanation of their assets should be removed from the lists. He said there was need for overhauling of taxation system in the country.