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Pakistani Ministers, Businessmen Listed on Pandora Papers; Prime Minister Imran Khan vows to investigate all citizens named in the leaks

ISLAMABAD: Several Pakistani ministers, retired civilian and military officials, businessmen and owners of major media outlets were named in the Pandora documents following an investigation that uncovered financial secrets held by high-profile individuals, leading to the first Minister Imran Khan to promise to investigate all the citizens mentioned in the leaks.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released “Pandora Papers” on Sunday, according to which the Minister of Finance, Shaukat Tarin, the Minister of Water Resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, the family of the Minister of Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, among others. had ties to offshore companies.
In addition to key members of Khan’s cabinet, retired civilian and military officials, businessmen and the owners of the country’s major media outlets have owned companies and trusts with millions of dollars in offshore jurisdictions, according to The News newspaper.
The newspaper reported that the investigation named Pandora Papers showed that retired military officers who owned offshore companies or properties include the son of Lieutenant General (retd) Muhammad Afzal Muzaffar, Major General (retd) Nusrat Naeem, the son of Lieutenant General ( retd) Khalid Maqbool- father-in-law, wife of Lieutenant General (retired) Tanvir Tahir, sister of Lieutenant General (retired) Ali Kuli Khan, sons of Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak and retired army officer and politician Raja Nadir Pervez.
Media owners who owned offshore companies include group editor Jang Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, media group CEO Dawn Hamid Haroon, Express Media Group editor Sultan Ahmed Lakhani, the Gourmet group that also owns a channel. television station GNN and editor of Pakistan Today. the late Arif Nizami.
The son of former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Ali Dar, former Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, and former Chairman of the Federal Bureau of Revenue and the son of Salman Siddiq’s Finance Secretary Yawar Salman were owners of companies in tax havens.
The Pandora Papers have also revealed that Pakistani Super League (PSL) franchise owner Peshawar Zalmi and renowned industrialist Javed Afridi own three offshore companies in the jurisdiction of the BVI. Afridi is the beneficial owner of Old Trafford Properties Ltd, Sutton Gas Works Properties Ltd and Gas Works Property Ltd.
In a statement released Sunday night, Prime Minister Khan welcomed the Pandora Papers that expose the ill-gotten wealth of the elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption and laundered into financial ‘havens’.
“My government will investigate all of our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Documents and if any irregularity is determined, we will take the appropriate measures. I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as something similar to the climate change crisis,” said.
He said that just as the East India Company plundered India’s wealth, the ruling elites of the developing world are doing the same.
“Unfortunately, the rich states are not interested in preventing this large-scale looting or repatriating this looted money,” Khan said.
He said the United Nations Secretary-General’s Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity Panel (FACTI) calculated a staggering $ 7 trillion in stolen assets parked in tax havens largely abroad.
Khan said his “more than two decades of struggle have been based on the belief that countries are not poor, but corruption causes poverty because money is diverted so that it is not invested in our people.”
This theft of resources causes devaluation, leading to thousands of poverty-related deaths, he said, adding that if left unchecked, inequalities between rich and poor states will increase as poverty increases in the latter.
“This, in turn, will lead to a flood of economic migration from poor states to rich states, leading to further economic and social instability around the world,” Khan added.
More than 600 reporters from around the world, from 150 media organizations in 117 countries, participated in the two-year investigation for Pandora Papers, which contains 11.9 million files containing 2.94 terabytes of confidential information.
Pakistani investigative reporter Umar Cheema, who was part of the investigation along with fellow journalist Fakhar Durrani, shared details with Geo News. The two reporters are associated with The News newspaper owned by Jang Group, which also owns Geo News.
In detailing the difficulties encountered in contacting the individuals named in the investigation, Cheema said that written questions were sent first. Some were contacted by phone, who would hang up when informed what the investigation was about, some refused to give their email addresses, others were also contacted via WhatsApp.
It should be noted that the law allows establishing and declaring an offshore company that is not involved in any illegal practice.
Speaking of Prime Minister Khan’s residence in Lahore, 2 Zaman Park, he said the ICIJ, the non-profit newsroom and the Washington DC-based network of journalists, which organized the investigation, sent questions to the Prime Minister’s spokesman. Minister.
It took ICIJ almost two years to organize the investigation that involved more than 600 journalists in 117 countries, making it the largest journalism association in history. By comparison, for the Panama Papers, nearly 400 journalists from 80 countries participated in the investigation.
The Pandora Papers leak will reveal financial secrets of more leaders and public officials than the Panama Papers and provide more than twice as much information on ownership of offshore companies, the reports suggest.
The Panama Papers were based on data from a Panama-based law firm called Mossack Fonseca that revealed overseas holdings of 140 politicians, public and sports stars. Those documents were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which contained records dating back 40 years.
The Pandora Papers investigation is larger and the revelations about politicians and public officials are also much more than what previously caught the public’s attention.
From Pakistan, there were more than 400 people who appeared on the Panama Papers, including members of the family of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In July 2017, a five-member Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled against Sharif, disqualifying him from office in the Panamagate scandal.
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