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All 700 of Pakistan’s nationals named in the “Pandora Papers” will be investigated, said the country’s prime minister Imran Khan, after the names of top ministers from his cabinet appeared in the leaked documents.
The names of the nationals – including Mr Khan’s finance minister, his former adviser’s son and prominent donors of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party – have appeared in one of the largest leaks of financial data made public on Sunday, revealing the extent of hidden offshore wealth across the globe.
Mr Khan himself isn’t named. The documents, however, include two senior cabinet ministers: Moonis Elahi and Shaukat Tarin, the country’s water resources and finance ministers respectively. Both have denied any wrongdoing.
Two key financial donors of Mr Khan’s PTI party – banker Arif Naqvi and prominent businessman Tariq Shafi – were mentioned as well.
The names of several other high-ranking officials, including five former senior military officers and their family members, have been mentioned as well.
“We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion and corruption and laundered out to financial ‘havens’,” said Mr Khan, who came to power on an anti-corruption platform, in a long Twitter thread.
We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion & corruption & laundered out to financial "havens". The UN SG's Panel FACTI calculated a staggering $7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax havens.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 3, 2021
“My government will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and if any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action,” he added.
“I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis.”
The financial documents were leaked as the result of the efforts of investigations led by 600 journalists and media outlets across the globe.
Pakistan’s civilian government and military leaders have been hiding vast amounts of wealth in a country plagued by widespread poverty and tax avoidance, said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which led the investigation.
The documents have featured the investments and other financial dealings of scores of politicians, celebrities, business leaders and even drug dealers, who have used tax avoidance, property deals or other schemes to hide their vast wealth.
The disclosures are based on at least 11.9 million leaked documents from 14 financial services companies around the world and include names from 35 countries.