Pandora Papers: PM Imran Khan to chair meeting to chart course of action

Oct 4, 2021: The Pandora Papers have led an important meeting will be held today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In the meeting, PM Imran Khan will decide on how to proceed with the investigation into the Pandora Papers.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan had welcomed the Pandora Papers released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). On Twitter, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that Pandora Papers had exposed the illicit wealth of the elite. He said that all Pakistanis involved in Pandora Papers would be investigated.

The Pandora Papers, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Ghetto Journalists (ICIJ), also includes the names of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s team. The Pandora Papers include Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen’s Offshore Company Pandora Papers also names Umar Bakhtiar, brother of Federal Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, and Waqar Masood, son of former Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Punjab Senior Provincial Minister Aleem Khan has said that his offshore company assets have been disclosed. Tweeting on the social networking site Twitter, he said, “Thank God I haven’t done anything wrong. The offshore company has already been one of my assets listed on the Federal Board of Revenue for 15 years.”

The Pandora Papers released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) have revealed the offshore companies of many prominent domestic and foreign political and non-political figures. 

An offshore company is a firm that is legally established in places where tax breaks have been made and the question should not be asked where the money for investment came from. The audit report of such companies is not sought nor is the annual return shown. It is not illegal to keep money in offshore companies but offshore accounts must be declared for the Pakistani public office holder.

These accounts have to be declared by the FBR and SECP and have to show a money trail of remittances. Also, a person hoping to become a public office holder must declare the existence of the companies to the ECP as assets at the time of submission of election nomination papers.

Leading anchor person Kamran Khan termed Pandora Papers as a test for Prime Minister Imran Khan. On micro-blogging website Twitter, he said that Panama Papers, Paradise Paper showed far more offshore company assets of Pakistanis than Panama Papers.

The Pandora Papers provide information on more than 29,000 offshore companies in more than 200 countries. The Pandora Papers also include the names of more than 700 Pakistanis, including current and former ministers, former generals, bureaucrats and businessmen. In addition, more than 130 billionaires from 45 countries have been exposed in Pandora Papers.

It may be recalled that in April 2016, ICIJ’s research came to light under the name of Panama Papers, which caused a stir in the world. There was a record of ‘offshore’ companies of personalities, criminals, celebrities and players.

In Panama Lakes, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family were also linked to offshore companies, which led to lawsuits against him in the Supreme Court, forcing Nawaz to resign from the PM’s job.

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