- Says PM Imran should keep the same standards as he had maintained at the time of Panama Leaks
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that ministers whose names have appeared in the Pandora Papers for links with offshore companies should step down from their positions, Aaj News reported on Thursday.
Addressing the media in Islamabad on Thursday, Murad said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should keep the same standards for himself as he had maintained for others in the past at the time of the Panama Leaks.
"In 2016, PM Khan had said that people with offshore accounts were tax thieves, so by that definition, the three federal ministers who had have named in the Pandora leaks are also thieves, even if they held the properties in good faith," he maintained.
He demanded the federal government initiate a fair investigation against those who were mentioned in the report.
Regarding the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance, the CM said legislation should be done for the welfare of the masses. "The ruling party is bringing its own laws through ordinances," he added.
“Legislation should be done through the legislative assemblies. The most esteemed institution is the parliament, which should not be bypassed."
Murad also said that the PTI will be seen nowhere in the next polls due to its performance. “They [PTI] paved the way for inflation. The elections are near and the people will take revenge from them,” the CM said.
Pandora Papers revelation
On October 3, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a global network of 280 investigative journalists in more than 100 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories, unveiled its Pandora Papers.
The ICIJ said that a 2.94 terabyte data trove revealed names of members of PM Khan's inner circle, high-rank former military officers, as well as renowned business and political personalities, own secret offshore assets.
The investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations, and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions, said the ICIJ.
The 2.94 terabytes of data, leaked to ICIJ and shared with media partners around the world, arrived in various formats: as documents, images, emails, spreadsheets, and more.
More than 330 politicians and 130 Forbes billionaires, as well as celebrities, fraudsters, drug dealers, royal family members, and leaders of religious groups around the world feature in the list.
PM warns of legal action
After the Pandora Papers revelations, PM Khan directed the members of his party whose names emerged in the leaks to clear themselves from the allegations, saying all those involved in tax evasion through illegal offshore companies will be dealt with sternly.
He said that the cases of elected representatives and the public office holders - whose names emerged in the Pandora leaks - will be referred to NAB for investigation. He also said that those who have set up offshore companies as defined under the law and are not involved in evading taxes will be cleared.
"Those who have not declared these companies in their returns as assets can face legal action," the premier said.
The prime minister said that the high-level cell under PM Inspection Commission, investigating the offshore company holders, will be assisted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
He said that the cell will also investigate whether the offshore companies are legal or not, adding that it will also determine the legal status of the investment made through the offshore companies.