Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his government will investigate all citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers, major investigative research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which uncovered the financial secrets held by high-profile individuals around the world.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, his family and the son of PM’s former adviser of finance and revenue Waqar Masoor Khan, are named in the Pandora Papers as holding foreign assets.
ICIJ has said that the documents show that Imran Khan himself does not own offshore companies.
“We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption and laundered out to financial ‘havens’,” PM Imran tweeted shortly after the Pandora Papers became public. “The UN SG’s Panel FACTI [International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity] calculated a staggering $7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax havens.”
“My government will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and if any wrongdoing is established, we will take appropriate action. I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis.”
In the 48 hours leading to the publication of the Pandora Papers, ARY News reported that “the owner of two offshore companies registered at a similar address as of Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed that they were registered by him on a different address and denied any role of the premier in this regard”. The story also attributed the information to “a database of the offshore companies”.
ICIJ has denied any involvement of ARY as a partner in the Pandora Papers investigation. It said ARY does not have access to ICIJ data.
The consortium said, “In its reporting prior to publication, ICIJ had asked Khan about the same companies. A Khan spokesman told ICIJ that the prime minister had no link to either, adding that two houses in the same neighborhood share an address, providing a map as evidence.”
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill had also denied Prime Minister Imran having any offshore company.
Addressing a gathering in Faisalabad, Gill stressed that if any other member of the government was found to have hidden offshore assets, they would have to answer for themselves. “Everyone has to go into their own grave,” he said.