The Pandora Papers is an investigation that is uncovering financial secrets from all over the world. This investigation is held by high-profile individuals from all over the world. There are 700 Pakistanis included in the Pandora paper leaks it emerged on Sunday.
The high profile individuals that included in Pandora papers are Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, 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, some retired army officials, businessman, and Axact’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh. There are some media company owners who are also included in the leaks.
Umar Cheema who is the news investigative reporter and also part of that probe talks to the geo news along with Fakhar Durani. He said it was a time-consuming process and tested the patience of everyone. But in the meantime, they checked the background of the people listed and every word in the documents, their dealings, and in Pakistan and abroad.
When asked about the difficulties encountered in contacting the listed people Cheema said some contacted through phone calls but they hang up when heard about the probe, some refused to provide their email addresses, and some contacted via WhatsApp. When asked about PM Imran Khan’s Lahore residence and 2 Zaman park Cheema said that
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the non-profit newsroom and journalist network based in Washington DC which organized the investigation, sent questions to the PM’s spokesperson.
When asked about the answers from different people and also from the Spokesperson of prime Minister Imran Khan Mr. Cheema said that
And our thought was that it must not be so that it is his address. There must be two or three addresses. But the way they wanted to preempt the news, and then run statements of clarification, I do not understand what the need for this was. Such behavior arouses suspicion.
He said that offshore companies must fill out the tax return form whether it is a public company or an ordinary citizen and also declared to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. He further said
An added responsibility on politicians is that they have to declare their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan, so they must declare it there as well.
The Counties with most offshore companies
When asked about the countries with most offshore companies Cheema said that a huge number of such companies can be found in British Virgin Island.
He further said one of the interesting things that emerged in Pandora paper leaks is that the US is also a major offshore jurisdiction.
He said the laws may differ from state to state but if someone wants to incorporate an offshore company in the United States and transfer money to it is not a much difficult process to do so.
Who will face legal action in Pakistan?
Cheema was asked about the Panama papers which first sent shockwaves to the country but later the matter fizzling out, he said that
It is unfortunate that in Pakistan accountability is very selective, and people are targeted. The aim is not to hold people accountable, but to remove opponents from one’s path.
He further added
Only woke up for a brief period when the SC gave some remarks, and sent some notices to some people.
Cheema said that he noted NAB began investigation for the assets of the family members of the Khusro Bakhtiar but not many results come out of it. Only low-level arrests were made by the NAB. Almost 700 Pakistani individuals are included in the list of Pandora Paper leaks this was emerged on Sunday by Umar Cheema.