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Pakistan

Pandora Papers: All those named will be answerable, says Fawad

  • Information minister says 'high level cell under Prime Minister Inspection Commission' to look into Pandora leaks
Published October 4, 2021

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday that Prime Minister Imran Khan has established a high level cell under an inspection commission to probe people named in the "leaks", a statement that comes day after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday "unveiled" its Pandora Papers.

“To investigate the Pandora leaks, the prime minister has established a 'Prime Minister Inspection Commission through which a high-level cell will probe all those named in the Pandora Papers,” he tweeted. "The truth would be told to the public."

The ICIJ on Sunday "unveiled" its Pandora Papers. The exposé named Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Senator Faisal Vawda, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, Ishaq Dar's son, PPP's Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh among those with alleged links to offshore companies.

'Links' to offshore companies: Tarin, Moonis, others named in Pandora Papers

In his response, finance minister Shaukat Tarin said that he "has done nothing wrong and is ready for any kind of investigation". Tarin further said that no question of tax evasion arises when the companies were opened with the approval of the SBP. He said that his all the assets are duly declared assets.

The files also "show" how Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, a key political ally of Imran Khan, purportedly planned to put the proceeds from an allegedly corrupt business deal into a secret trust, concealing them from Pakistan's tax authorities. Elahi did not respond to ICIJ's repeated requests for comment. Yesterday, however, a family spokesman told ICIJ's media partners that, "due to political victimisation misleading interpretations and data have been circulated in files for nefarious reasons." He added that the family's assets "are declared as per applicable law".

The probe is said to be based on more than 11.9 million confidential files from 14 offshore services firms leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with 150 news organizations around the world.

Meanwhile, Fawad said that the owners of media houses have also appeared in Pandora Papers. “Many of them are accused of money laundering,” he said. “The Ministry of Information is starting an investigation in this regard and PEMRA will be asked to seek an explanation.”

Earlier, Fawad had said that 'Pandora Papers' would further validate Prime Minister Imran Khan's stance against corruption and the ICIJ investigation would open new avenues of transparency and corruption.

On Sunday, ahead of the announced release of 'Pandora Papers' by the International Consortium of Investigative journalism, the minister for information stated in a series of tweets that if the details disclosed that wealth of the poor countries was transferred abroad in Pandora Papers like Panama, it would further strengthen the stance of Prime Minister Khan.

PM says govt to probe all those named in 'papers'

"We hope that this investigation, like the Panama investigation, will open new avenues of transparency and discourage corruption," he further stated. The minister said that overseas assets were uncovered in the Panama Papers.

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