Murky Probe

Gradually opposition is losing its grip on the Panama claims leveled against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family. Opposition camp is now divided on TORs and mechanism to deal with the issue. Government decided to be active and responsive toward all such claims. The PPP could not convince MQM to first clear allegations against the Prime Minister and then against others. They believe that across the board accountability is necessary. Government says it depends on the commission if it starts from 1947 onward and 2016 backward accountability. PTI wants only Prime Minister’s accountability just based upon the Panama Leaks. It is not interesting into allegations involving 249 others named in the Panama Leaks. It wants highly selective accountability. Across the board accountability is not its priority. This is highly immoral not to investigate other 249 names. PTI wants selective justice. Is it possible? There should be comprehensive probe.

PTI Jahangir Tareen repeatedly denies reports about his waiving off of bank loans but he used tricks to waive off millions of rupees bank loans, which has been confirmed by the State Bank. He waived off Rs 49.8 million. His company Faruki Pulp Mills got waived off Rs19.234 million from United Bank Limited, Rs 9. 015 million from Muslim Commercial Bank and Rs 21. 57 million from Royal Bank of Scotland. While his company, State Engineering (Heavy Mechanical Complex) had to pay Rs 932 million to Industrial Development Bank Limited (Formerly IDBP). Moreover, State Engineering still has to pay Rs 406.818 million to the National Bank.  These details were given by the State Bank. According to reports, did not have bank balance in the 1990s but now he is a billionaire possessing a business empire. He was “benefited” in Musharaf’s era. Question also arises that why these details were not revealed earlier? “Mal-e-muft dil-e- berahim”.  Imran Khan is facing similar charges of loans waive off. Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid claimed that 82 percent people of PTI do not pay taxes. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif is going to take Imran Khan’s Shoukat Memorial Hospital’s charity money, which has been used for commercial purposes to finance off-shore companies. Government might leak details of others’ wrongdoings soon.

Probe should be made not only on Panama Leaks but on bank defaulters, facilitators of money-laundering, and tax evasion. Probe should be in discriminatory and across the board to know who looted the national wealth and increased country’s external liabilities. The scope of the probe should be even wider. Those found guilty should be dealt in accordance with iron hand and should be banned in taking part in politics in future especially in 2018 elections. A murky probe as demanded by PTI would not do justice. All “Mr clean” should clear their mess up before hinting at others.

Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik