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PM Imran forms ‘high-level cell’ to probe Pakistanis named in Pandora leaks

The development was announced by Fawad Chaudhry. (Source: Reuters)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a high-level commission to probe Pakistanis named in leaked financial documents, under the name of ‘Pandora Papers’, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced on Monday.

“The high-level cell under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission will investigate all individuals mentioned in the Pandora Papers and will present facts before the nation,” the Information and Broadcasting Minister said in a Tweet.

Fawad Chaudhry also expressed concern about the disclosure of names of media house owners in Pandora Papers. “It is unfortunate that the names of the owners of all major media houses in Pakistan are included in Pandora leaks,” he wrote.   

“The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is launching a transparent investigation into the matter and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is being asked to respond,” he tweeted.

The development comes a day after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) unveiled its new investigation Pandora’s box – a massive trove of private financial records –naming national and international personalities among 700 Pakistanis, including cabinet members.

The ICIJ stated 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.

The Pandora Papers revealed several Pakistani politicians including Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, PTI’s Senator Faisal Vawda, son of PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, and PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan.

Overseas, the Pandora Papers expose dealings of the King of Jordan, the Presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The files detail financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unofficial minister of propaganda” and more than 130 billionaires from India, Russia, the United States, Mexico, and other nations.

Prime Minister’s statement

Soon after the Pandora papers were released on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to investigate all those Pakistanis mentioned in the report, saying if any wrongdoing was established “we will take appropriate action.”

“My government will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and 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,” he added.