ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that government will investigate all the citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and appropriate action will be taken if any wrongdoing is established.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, he welcomed the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption and laundered out to financial havens.
PM said the UNSG’s Panel FACTI calculated a staggering 7 trillion dollars in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax-havens.
He said his over-two decades struggle has been premised on the belief that countries are not poor but corruption causes poverty because money is diverted from being invested in our people.
He further added this resource-theft also causes devaluation, leading to thousands of poverty-related deaths.
The Prime Minister said just like the East India Company plundered the wealth of India, ruling elites of the developing world are doing the same.
He further said that unfortunately, the rich states are neither interested in preventing this large-scale plunder nor in repatriating this looted money.
He called on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis. He said if unchecked, inequalities between rich and poor states will increase as poverty rises in the latter.
Prime Minister said this in turn will lead to a flood of economic migration from the poor to the rich states, causing further economic and social instability across the globe.
Earlier, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released 11.9 million leaked documents to expose the financial secrecy of world leaders, including 700 Pakistanis.
Pandora Papers reveal that key members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle have secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth.
Most prominent figures include Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, Ishaq Dar’s son Ali Dar, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan.
Some retired army officials, businessmen, and media owners, including Axact’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh, have also been named in Pandora Papers.
The ICIJ released a report titled “Prime Minister Imran Khan promised ‘new Pakistan’ but members of his inner circle secretly moved millions offshore.”
According to ICIJ, the files show how Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, a key political ally of Imran Khan’s, planned to put the proceeds from an allegedly corrupt business deal into a secret trust, concealing them from Pakistan’s tax authorities.
The Pandora Papers reveal that in 2007, the wife of Gen. Shafaat Ullah Shah, then one of Pakistan’s leading generals and a former aide to President Pervez Musharraf, acquired a $1.2 million apartment in London through a discreet offshore transaction.
In Pandora papers, More than 600 reporters from around the world, belonging to 150 media organizations spanning 117 countries, participated in the research for two years for the Pandora Papers, which contain 11.9 million files.
From Pakistan, investigative journalists Umar Cheema and Fakhar Durrani of The News International were part of the investigation.