If Prime Minister Imran Khan were to justify his inner circle hiding their money in offshore tax havens in the Pandora Papers, he would likely frame it as a grand gesture for the common folk of Pakistan.
A satirical piece published by The Onion said that the PM, in an imaginary world, would say that the money was being pumped into tax havens to buy a grand gift for Pakistan’s people. The media outlet said that Khan would have wanted to keep the gesture a surprise and would be dejected that the surprise was ruined.
The media outlet, in its satirical piece, quoted Khan as saying that members of his government and allies only transferred money into secret foreign accounts so that the citizens of Pakistan would not be aware of the large deposits and hence suspect that an ‘exciting gift’ was to be given to them.
The response conceptualized by The Onion was based on some real troubles facing Khan, who has been asked repeatedly in recent days to resign in the wake of several Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members being named in the explosive Pandora Papers. After the Pandora leak, PTI announced it would form an investigation cell to probe the ministers named. The opposition on Monday, rejected the decision and said that a fair probe was not possible under the guidance of Khan himself.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released the Pandora Papers on Sunday evening. The ICIJ collected more than 11.9 million documents that contain a burgeoning 2.94 terabytes of private financial information. The information was sourced from service providers who assisted leaders and public officials in the establishment and management of offshore companies and trusts in tax havens worldwide.
Several members of Khan’s inner circle were named in the papers for alleged ownership of assets outside Pakistan. These names included Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Punjab Food Minister Aleem Khan, Federal Industries and Production Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and former federal water resources minister Faisal Vawda.