The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has unveiled “Pandora Papers” — a major international research into the financial secrets held by high-profile individuals around the world.
Top cabinet members, ministers, media moguls, relatives of army officers and powerful businessmen — individuals spanning the entire Pakistani elite have been named in the ‘Pandora Papers’.
The ICIJ released a report on the Pandora Papers titled “Prime Minister Imran Khan promised ‘new Pakistan’ but members of his inner circle secretly moved millions offshore.”
In the report, the ICIJ revealed that “key members” of Prime Minister Imran’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”.
Under the law, setting up an offshore company is not an offence or crime if the company is not involved in any illegal activity. However, those who have not declared these companies in their returns as assets can face legal action.
Following are the names of Pakistani politicians named in the Pandora Papers:
1. Shaukat Tarin and his family
The consortium claimed Shaukat Tarin and his family own four offshore companies. According to Tariq Fawad Malik, a financial consultant who handled the paperwork on the companies, they were set up as part of the Tarin family’s intended investment in a bank with a Saudi business.
He said that, “as a mandatory prerequisite by the regulator, we engaged with the Central Bank of Pakistan to obtain their ’in-principle’ approval for the said strategic investment.” The deal didn’t proceed.
In a statement issued the day of the Pandora Papers’ publication, Tarin said, “The off-shore companies mentioned were incorporated as part of the fund raising process for my Bank.”
2. Moonis Elahi
The files show how Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, a key political ally of Imran Khan’s, planned to put the proceeds from an allegedly corrupt business deal into a secret trust, concealing them from Pakistan’s tax authorities.
A family spokesman told ICIJ’s media partners that, “due to political victimisation misleading interpretations and data have been circulated in files for nefarious reasons.” He added that the family’s assets “are declared as per applicable law”.
3. Family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiyar
Omer Bakhtyar, the brother of 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 state anti-corruption agency has been investigating allegations that his family’s wealth inexplicably “ballooned” since Bhaktyar first became a minister in Pervez Musharaff’s government in 2004.
In a written statement to ICIJ, Makhdum Bakhtyar said that the anti-corruption agency’s investigation was founded on baseless allegations which had underestimated his family’s past wealth, and that it has so far not resulted in a formal complaint.
4. Son of PM’s former adviser Waqar Masood Khan
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. Masood resigned in August amid a policy dispute. Khan told ICIJ that he did not know what his son’s company did. He said his son lived a modest life, and was not his financial dependent.
5. Senator Faisal Vawda
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. He resigned in March amid a controversy over his status as a dual U.S.-Pakistan national. Vawda told ICIJ that he has declared all worldwide assets held in his name to Pakistani tax authorities. Other politicians that were named in the Pandora Papers include:
PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan
PPP’s Sharjeel Memon
PML-N’s Ishaq Dar’s son Ali Dar
Wife of PML-Q boss Chaudhry Pervez Elahi