The files, unveiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), pose a big challenge for Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had knocked out his arch-political rival, former PM Nawaz Sharif, through a Supreme Court order in the “Panama Papers” case that had barred Sharif from holding public office in future.
The latest papers have named Khan’s cabinet members and financial backers, politicians, retired generals, media owners and businessmen as possessing secret offshore financial assets.
As Khan had vowed that stern action would be taken against Pakistanis if found involved in a scam, his first big test would be to decide on finance minister Shaukat Tarin, minister for water resources Chaudhry Moonis Elahi and his predecessor Faisal Vawda, National Bank of Pakistan president Arif Usmani, the PM’s ambassador at large for foreign investment Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, the managing director of the national investment trust, Adnan Afridi, and others whose names were unearthed by the leaked papers.
The names of several retired Pakistani generals and their children have also figured in the “Pandora Papers”. According to the leaked files, ex-President Pervez Musharraf’s military secretary, Lt Gen Shafatullah Shah, owns an expensive apartment in London through an offshore company that is in the names of his wife and son.
Former ISI director-general (counter-terrorism) Maj Gen Nusrat Naeem (Retd) got a company registered soon after his retirement in 2009. The son of Lt Gen Afzal Muzaffar (Retd) held an offshore company that was used for a business in the UAE.
Muzaffar was implicated in a case related to making an illegal investment of Pakistani Rs 4.3 billion in the stock market while being the director-general of the army’s national logistics cell (NLC), which caused a loss of Rs 1.8 billion.
The wife of former defence production secretary Lt Gen Tanvir Tahir is a shareholder in an offshore company and the sister of Lt Gen Ali Quli Khan bought properties in the UK through an offshore company, the “Pandora Papers” claim. She made this purchase through the fortune she had inherited from her deceased father, Lt Gen Habibullah Khattak (Retd).
Two sons of a former chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak, also own an offshore company, according to the Pandora Papers. The documents claimed that publishers of the Jang Group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the Dawn Group’s Hameed Haroon, the Express Group’s Sultan Lakhani and Pakistan Today’s late Arif Nizami hold one offshore company each.