Pandora Papers have revealed financial secrets and corruption of high profile individuals across the world, including several hundred names from Pakistan. The Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is one of the few prominent names included in the Pandora Papers, which have been released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday.
The report has revealed that key politicians, including federal cabinet members and opposition party leaders have secretly owned offshore companies. The most prominent names in the Pandora Papers include the Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, Senator Faisal Vawda, Ishaq Dar’s son, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, and several others, who have alleged links to offshore companies.
The Pandora Papers contains 11.9 million documents and the investigation involved more than 600 reporters from 150 media outlets in 117 counties, making this report an even bigger exposé than Panama Papers, which were the reason behind the Supreme Court disqualifying Nawaz Shareef as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
It bears mentioning that some prominent businessmen, including Axact’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh have also been named in the Pandora Papers. However, it is to be noted that establishing and declaring an offshore company, which is not involved in any illegal activities, is permissible by law.
Journalist Umer Cheema, who was part of the probe, alone with Fakhar Durrani, spoke to local media outlet regarding the investigation. He said that it was a very time-consuming process and they checked the background of everyone listed, their dealings in Pakistan and abroad to make sure that no injustice was done.
He added that everyone named in the investigation for the Pandora Papers was contacted and sent a set of written questions. Some of these individuals were contacted via phone but they would hang-up when told what the probe is about, while some refused to give their email addresses.
Shaukat Tarin Clarifies Role in Opening Offshore Companies
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has clarified his role in the establishment of certain offshore companies, which are mentioned in the Pandora Papers. The minister has stated that these companies were opened when Tariq Fawad Malik, who worked for UAE’s Tariq bin Laden Company, had obtained formal permission to invest in Silk Bank, of which he was a major shareholder.
He added that no bank account of the companies was opened and no transaction took place. Later, the companies were closed, between 2014 to 2015, after the deciding against the investment. He mentioned that Tariq bin Laden is a major Saudi investor while Tariq Fawad Malik worked for Laden’s company in the UAE.