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PM Imran promises action against Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers ‘if wrongdoing established’

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday his government would investigate all Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers and take action if any wrongdoing is established. 

More than 700 Pakistani politicians, businessmen, retired generals, bankers and owners of media houses own offshore companies, according to Pandora Papers.

Imran Khan took to Twitter to make this announcement on Sunday evening. He wrote, “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.

“My over-two decades struggle has been premised on the belief that countries are not poor but corruption causes poverty because money is diverted from being invested in our people. Also, this resource-theft causes devaluation, leading to thousands of poverty-related deaths.

“Just like the East India Company plundered the wealth of India, ruling elites of developing world are doing the same. Unfortunately, the rich states are neither interested in preventing this large-scale plunder nor in repatriating this looted money.

“My govt will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers & if any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action. I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis.

“If unchecked, inequalities between rich & poor states will increase as poverty rises in the latter. This in turn will lead to a flood of economic migration from the poor to the rich states, causing further economic & social instability across the globe.”

A group of investigative journalists published on Sunday a new report on the alleged involvement of a number of world leaders and other high-profile individuals in tax haven schemes.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has called the “Pandora Papers” its “most expansive exposé of financial secrecy yet,” noting that the investigation involved more than 600 journalists from 117 countries as well as over 11.9 million leaked files “covering every corner of the globe.”

This comes five years after the ICIJ published the Panama papers, which cited documents allegedly belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to assert that some national leaders and their confidants used offshore banking to conceal their fortunes.

At the same time, the authenticity of the data has never been confirmed, with Mossack Fonseca refusing to do so and accusing the journalists of having committed a crime.

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