The much-awaited Pandora Papers have been unveiled and unsurprisingly Pakistan’s elite – more than 700 of them – have found their names in the list that exposes financial secrets held by high-profile individuals around the world. Just like the past, as was witnessed during the release of the Panama Papers that found the Sharif family then in power in that list, the response by the ruling elite has been swift and predictable. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin soon after being mentioned in the Pandora Papers took to his official Twitter handle to mention that no wrong had been committed as “no bank accounts were opened, no transactions took place and the companies stood closed.” It must be noted the minister and his family own four offshore companies, according to the investigation’s findings. Similarly, others, such as, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi also released a statement through his spokesperson that no illegality has been revealed. However, there is one thing starkly different than the last time and it is the ruling PTI’s lack of drum-beating of a corrupt mafia. Perhaps, it is because of the fact that many in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle have been named in the findings. The report released by the consortium titled ‘Prime Minister Imran Khan promised ‘new Pakistan’ but members of his inner circle secretly moved millions offshore’ have led to little noise from the PTI keyboard warriors let alone the premier himself.

Following the revelations, PM Imran Khan nonetheless did state that the “government will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and if any wrongdoing is established, we will take appropriate action.” But it is unclear how the government envisions to not only probe into the matters of its own ministers but also of family members of army personnel, businessmen and executives. Whether laws have been violated will be known in due course – at least – in the international arena. For Pakistan, the revelation once again exposes the ruling elite’s obsession to protect its own interest than benefit those who it in most cases are elected to represent. And despite coveted businessmen been given state handouts they choose to redistribute the wealth inwards, leaving the needy for scraps. The Pandora Papers reveal the unjust system that allows the rich to avoid tax and the poor to bear the cost. While it is on the international community to ensure tax havens do not exist, it is also on the country to have a pragmatic system that doesn’t let the elite avoid direct taxation.