Dealing with the Panama People

The Panama Leaks have another dimension and it is about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan claimed by foreign investors over the years. An investigation should be launched with the help of the Board of Investment (BOI) and the State Bank of Pakistan to investigate into the real identities of investors from British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mauritius who made direct and portfolio investment in Pakistan. Why far flung Caribbean Islands were interested to invest in Pakistan, while virtually they no trade between with Pakistan. What pushed them to invest in Pakistan? Is it plundered money which they had secured and now want to make more profit? They are throwing our shoes on our faces. Pakistan has a weak and faulty financial investigation system to “protect” the looting elite. Those who have written-off their bank loans in the 1980s and 1990s, they also invested in off-shores and later invested in Pakistan. These assets should be confiscated.

To say that except Prime Minister, there will no accountability of other 249 people and the 400 other names that will be disclosed in the second phase of the Panama Leaks scheduled on May 9, is an immorality to give a political cover to all others. Law is for everyone not only for the Prime Minster. PTI’s Jehangir Tareen and Aleem Khan are trying to hide under the carpet provided by Imran Khan. Is it possible in any democracy? Is is possible in Britain or America one should ask imran Khan. What are they demanding? They should come out of foolish haven and face the consequences they have been demanding every day in rallies and press conferences. Jehangir Tareen has admitted that he sent out money to London in 2014 but the properties were purchased in 2011. He has to clear this contraction and tell the tax-payers as to why he sent out money while claimed to banks to write-off loans due to his inability to pay back loans. Those bank officials also need to be booked who helped him to write-off loans. All the cases should be re-opened since the 1980s and investigated irrespective of the facts that if their names were disclosed in the Panama Papers or not with or without off-shore businesses. Punishments should be awarded to them if they found guilty and they and their immediate family members should be permanently banned in taking part in elections. This is one way of cleaning dirty politics of Pakistan.

Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik