Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised a transparent investigation of Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers, a stance that has received a nod of approval from many in the country.
After the Pandora Papers went live on Sunday evening, the PM stated in a tweet that he ‘welcomed’ the expose on corrupt elements in Pakistan. Khan said that he had struggled for over two decades against corruption and maintained that countries did not automatically become poor but the diversion of resources from the impoverished to the rich was the main reason behind socio-economic inequality.
Khan cited the British East India Company, which plundered India’s resources many years ago and said that developed nations were doing the same with developing ones by hiding their assets in offshore companies. The PM promised strict investigation of and action against Pakistanis who appeared in the Pandora Papers.
We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion & corruption & laundered out to financial "havens". The UN SG's Panel FACTI calculated a staggering $7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax havens.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 3, 2021
American filmmaker Cynthia Ritchie, who resides in Pakistan, said Khan’s statement made her proud that even though he was surrounded by ‘bad apples’, he did not succumb to fraudulent activities himself. Ritchie said the corruption that came to surface with the assistance of the west should be strictly punished.
Despite being surrounded by some bad apples, Prime Minister Imran Khan was not named in the #PandoraPapers
The history of corruption, enabled & supported by western governments, should be investigated & punished at the highest levels. https://t.co/3I7EIB3PQj
— Cynthia Ritchie ✍🎥 (@CynthiaDRitchie) October 3, 2021
Several Twitter users echoed Ritchie’s sentiments, with many among them hoping that Khan would act against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members mentioned in the Pandora reveal. A user said that he fully supported Khan and applauded him for promising punishment for those who fostered corruption at the expense of the impoverished in Pakistan.
We believe you Khan sahab I hope you will take same action against PTI officials as well.
Everyone played part in looting and corruptions, country became poor and these people got billions of dollars richer. These people don't care about us all they care about is POWER and MONEY https://t.co/OFG8BZ0lYd
— Malik (@Waqa5_Suf1) October 4, 2021
A user was thankful for a leader like Khan who was cleared of any wrongdoing as his name was absent from the financial documents. She added that everyone looked forward to Khan’s commitment to bringing all the names mentioned to justice.
Our honest and truest leader @ImranKhanPTI we are extremely pleased that u have been declared clean n clear once again from any financial dishonesty or theft, as expected!! Sir we are expecting a clear investigation of all names coming up in these Pandora leaks!! https://t.co/t1ppWsF5nB pic.twitter.com/J5k8hfPkR1
— 𝗡𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗿𝗮 𝗙𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗮𝗹(ɴɪɴɪ) (@NiniYmz) October 3, 2021
Policy analyst Syed Muhammad Ali said that Khan’s response only strengthened his overarching rhetoric against corruption. The Pandora Papers, Ali said, had shunned Khan’s critics and would help get rid of corrupt officials in the country.
@PandoraPapers provide a great opportunity to @ImranKhanPTI to prove his meta narrative on #justice, silence his critics & get rid of any corrupt officials. https://t.co/E7w2FszWtY
— Syed Muhammad Ali (@SyedAli78304182) October 3, 2021
Many called Khan a committed leader that brought them hope for betterment in Pakistan. A user said Khan was ‘a true leader’ who won with his stance again.
This is what a true leader would do.. You won again, Almighty may bless you with more wisdom and success https://t.co/fPaoQO14P5
— Muhammad Ismail (@ismail0704) October 3, 2021
One user was just elated that Khan was not one of the over 700 Pakistanis who were named in the reveal. They said they stood justified in voting for an honest and trustworthy leader.
Imran khan is not among 700 Pakistanis named in 0andora papers. I stand vindicated for choosing a SADIQ & AMEEN. Alhamdulillah #PandoraPapers https://t.co/fOSsowmtBC pic.twitter.com/W4ysuHu4SZ
— Али Саджад (Hunzai) (@AleeSajadPTI) October 3, 2021
‘Malicious propaganda’ by the opposition was thwarted with Khan’s response, said another user. She added that everyone focused on the names in the Pandora Papers but did not reckon with the western operations that enabled their corruption in the first place.
Another one bites the dust. Despite much fabricated hype and malicious propaganda, all opposition and its minion media falls flat on their faces.
But while everyone focuses on the names, everyone misses out on how western banking system this ring of corruption. #pendorapapers https://t.co/JCk9TTtWiA
— Wajiha (@27thLetterrr) October 4, 2021
One user pointed out that Khan’s commitment to justice was missing in the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government when their elite was named in Panama Papers in 2016.
TBH. This thing was missing in @pmln_org when Panama papers exposed their elites.
Stance of Ik on #PandoraPaper is quite promising, well versed and well articulated. Hats off to the IK for this. https://t.co/7NGJ2Zk6Es
— Shahzaib Arif (@shahzaibarif_) October 3, 2021
The Panama leaks created a frenetic political situation in Pakistan as PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and their children were all named in the scandalous leak for having offshore assets that were undeclared in Pakistan. Khan, who was in opposition at the time, called the leaks a ‘god-sent’ aid in combatting corruption.
This time around, several members of Khan’s inner circle were named in the Pandora 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.