Paradise papers probe

It appears that the accountability ball, set in motion by the historic Supreme Court verdict of 28th July, 2017 in the Panama Papers case, is gaining momentum. The Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) has decided to conduct a thorough probe into the Paradise Leaks. It is no surprise that names of 135 wealthy Pakistanis have appeared in one of the lists of Paradise Papers. These ultra rich individuals have shamefully used the platforms of Trusts and Foundations for the shady and clandestine activity of money laundering for the transfer of their ill-gotten and untaxed wealth to the British Virgin Island and other safe heavens. The list of Pakistanis includes a number of towering personalities. A few of them are Ex Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, MCB owner Mian Mansha, Chairman Daud Hercules Corporation, Hussain Daud, Sadar-ud-Din Hashwani and ex Chairman National Insurance Corporation Ayaz Khan Niazi.

Mr. Aziz claimed to be Mr. Clean and equaled himself with Dr Mahtir Muhammad, the architect of modern and industrialized South Asian country Malaysia. Dr. Mahatir turned his economically backward country into an economic joint by virtue of his impeccable integrity, patriotism and vast knowledge of Development Economics. On the other hand, Shaukat Aziz was a banker and pseudo economist.  He set up Antarctic Trust in the name of his wife, three children and granddaughter weeks before he came to Pakistan. This reveals his intention to steal the resources of a poor country in the capacity of finance Minister.

According to the spokesman of FBR, notices will be issued to whose names have appeared in the list of paradise papers. Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has urged Supreme Court to take so-Moto notice of the paradise papers. Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has been on the pay roll of City Bank. He still has strong connections in the multilateral donor agencies that give Pakistan financial bail outs at the time of acute economic crisis. The present state of the economy is far from satisfactory. Mian Mansha is well connected with the powerful ruling Sharif family. It is a million dollars question how FBR initiates a well calculated probe against such highly influential and politically well connected corrupt personalities to successfully bring them to justice. Hopefully, FBR will take all possible steps without fear or favor to capitalize on the surging global wave against corruption and effectively contribute in the accountability process which is moving forward to its logical end. National Accountability Bureau is reopening the long shelved cases under the dynamic leadership of its new Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal.  PML (Q) President Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and senior party leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi appeared before National Accountability Bureau Lahore on Monday and recorded their statements in a case of assets beyond means. The case pertains to misuse of authority and amassing wealth which was registered against them before they joined hands with President Musharraf. Let us hope that state institutions will succeed in promoting a strong culture of accountability to pave the way for fixing the fundamental of transparency, a vital pillar of real democracy.