Sunday Oct 03 2021
Web Desk

PM Imran Khan has 'no offshore company': Shahbaz Gill

Web Desk

  • PM "neither engages in such activities and nor does he spare anyone who does", says Shahbaz Gill.
  • Aide on political communication says two houses — one belonging to the PM — have the same "2 Zaman Park" address but have two separate entrances.
  • The prime minister does not personally know the man who owns the other house, nor has ever met him or his father, Gill adds.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Sunday said that the premier "has no offshore company".

Addressing a gathering in Faisalabad, Gill said that the prime minister "neither engages in such activities and nor does he spare anyone who does".

"That being said, if I or anyone else has an offshore company, then it is we who will have to answer for that," he added.

Gill said that the address of the prime minister's residence is "2 Zaman Park". He said he was asked whether the premier has registered a property abroad under someone else's name, so he wishes to clarify that there are two properties, about half a kilometre apart, with two separate entrances, but with the "same address".

He said whosoever owns the offshore companies will have to answer for his businesses himself. The prime minister does not personally know the man, not has ever met him or his father, the premier's aide said.

"So this is in response to all those who are trying to spread misinformation."

Gill's remarks come as an exposé pertaining to offshore companies under the name "Pandora Papers" is set to be released today.

PM Imran Khan has 'two more offshore companies'

PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal, while speaking to the media in Narowal today, said that the Pandora leaks have "opened a new pandora's box" when it comes to "Imran Niazi".

"That leader who used to present himself as sadiq (honest) and ameen (trustworthy), has two more offshore companies," Iqbal claimed.

The PML-N stalwart said that even before the data being released, government spokespersons "have begun defending him".

Iqbal said that the prime minister is "misleading" people by saying the inflation in the country is a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Inflation persists due to the government's poor economic policies," he said.

Iqbal demanded that the government make public details from the Toshakhana pertaining to the gifts received from foreign dignitaries.

"This corrupt, incompetent, unworthy government has no right to remain in power," he said. "There is something not just fishy, but super fishy going on," he added.

The PML-N leader, referring to PM Imran Khan, said that he put on a "cloak of honesty" and "fooled the people, all the while eroding Pakistan's respect and pride".

Pandora Papers set to release tonight

The Pandora Papers, set to release tonight at 9:30pm PST, will uncover financial secrets held by high-profile individuals across the world.

It is reported to be a development to what was earlier revealed in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers.

The non-profit newsroom and journalist network based in Washington DC, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), has received more than 11.9 million documents containing 2.94 terabytes worth of confidential information from service providers who helped set up and manage offshore companies and trusts in tax havens around the world.

The ICIJ shared the data with 150 media organisations and has led the broadest collaboration in journalism history. It took the ICIJ almost two years to organise the investigation that involved more than 600 journalists in 117 countries, making it the biggest-ever journalism partnership.

By comparison, for the Panama Papers, almost 400 journalists from 80 countries participated in the investigation. 

The News was the only ICIJ partner from Pakistan on both occasions. In addition, The News also partnered with the ICIJ in the Bahamas leak and the Paradise Papers.

The Pandora Papers leak will uncover financial secrets of more leaders and public officials than the Panama Papers did and provide more than twice as much information about the ownership of offshore companies, reports suggest.

The Panama Papers were based on the data of a Panama-based law firm called Mossack Fonseca that revealed offshore holdings of 140 politicians, public offshore and sports stars. Those documents were obtained by the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, which contained records dating back 40 years.

The Pandora Papers investigation is bigger in size and revelations about politicians and public officials are also far more than what previously came to public attention. 

From Pakistan, there were more than 400 individuals who surfaced in the Panama Papers. The number of Pakistanis featured in the Pandora Papers are expected to be far greater in number.