PM Imran forms high-level cell to probe Pandora Papers’ revelations

Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed a special, high-level cell to probe the Pandora Papers exposé, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said Monday, hours after the two-year investigation came to light.

A huge tranche of leaked data on offshore companies — larger in size and scope than the Panama Papers — hit the global headlines Sunday night, laying bare the financial secrets of the global rich and powerful.

The investigation revealed that the prime minister’s cabinet members, financiers, retired generals, media owners, and businessmen have offshore companies.

“The prime minister has set up a high-level cell under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission to investigate the Pandora leaks, which will present the facts before the nation,” the information minister said.

The development comes after PM Imran Khan held a meeting to discuss the leaks and the overall country’s political situation, with senior PTI leaders and federal ministers in attendance, sources said.

An initial report related to the matter was presented to the premier after which the participants of the meeting briefed him on the actions that are being considered against the Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers leak, sources said.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other bodies have been tasked to probe the matter, sources said, with the prime minister instructing to present the facts of the investigation before the nation.

The names of more than 700 Pakistanis have been discovered in the data and the majority of them are tax residents in the country. A veritable Pandora’s box of information has been opened, releasing unending trouble and woes for those named.

The Pandora Papers had revealed that several Pakistani politicians — including Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, PTI’s Senator Faisal Vawda, son of PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, and PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, among others — have alleged links to offshore companies.

The probe has unmasked the fortunes of more than 330 public officials in 90 countries. Included among them are 35 current and former leaders of different countries.

The king of Jordan, the rulers of Qatar and Dubai, presidents of Ukraine, Kenya, and Ecuador, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Lebanon, and former British prime minister Tony Blair, all appear in the secret files.

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