For years, Minister Imran Khan ran campaigns claiming that as someone who was not corrupt he would eradicate corruption and also ensure no one around him made money or move money offshore to secret funds and accounts.
The 2016 ‘Panama Papers’ was a global investigation where millions of confidential files from offshore firms were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and also shared with many news organizations. Imran Khan used this expose to hold rallies around the country demanding the dismissal of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and with the support of the deep state came to power in 2018.
In his victory speech Khan asserted “We will establish supremacy of the law. Whoever violates the law, we will act against them. Our state institutions will be so strong that they will stop corruption. Accountability will start with me, then my ministers, and then it will go from there.”
However, this week the ‘Pandora Papers’ a follow up to the Panama Papers may undo such assertions by Khan. This time round 11.9 million confidential files from 14 offshore services firms were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with news organizations.
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) “Now leaked documents reveal that key members of Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers have secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth. Military leaders have been implicated as well. The documents contain no suggestion that Khan himself owns offshore companies. Among those whose holdings have been exposed are Khan’s finance minister, Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin, and his family, and the son of Khan’s former adviser for finance and revenue, Waqar Masood Khan. The records also reveal the offshore dealings of a top PTI donor, Arif Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the United States.”
Further, “The window into the personal finances of individual Pakistani generals is especially rare and provides a glimpse at how top military officers – known in Pakistan as “The Establishment” – use offshore to quietly enrich themselves while maintaining, until now, the military’s image as a bulwark against civilian corruption.”
Furthermore “the Pandora Papers reveal that Khan has surrounded himself with people – cabinet ministers and their families, donors and other political allies – who have holdings hidden offshore. Shaukat Tarin, Khan’s finance minister, and members of Tarin’s family, own four offshore companies. Omer Bakhtyar, the brother of Khan’s minister for industries, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, transferred a $1 million apartment in the Chelsea area of London to his elderly mother through an offshore company in 2018. The son of Waqar Masood Khan, Khan’s chief adviser for finance and revenue between 2019 and 2020, co-owned a company based in the British Virgin Islands. And Khan’s former minister for water resources, Faisal Vawda, set up an offshore company in 2012 to invest in U.K. properties, the Pandora Papers show.”
Finally, “Naqvi, the financier and major donor to Khan’s 2013 campaign, owned several offshore companies. U.S prosecutors charged Naqvi with engineering a $400 million fraud against Abraaj investors and this year persuaded a court to allow his extradition from the U.K. Naqvi has denied wrongdoing. Tariq Shafi, a leading businessman and another PTI donor, held $215 million through offshore companies, the records show. The documents offer an unusually detailed look at how a top political figure attempted to hide proceeds from an alleged misuse of public funds with the help of an elite offshore service provider. The politician is Moonis Elahi, whose father founded the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the party holding Khan’s fragile coalition together.”