Broadsheet revelations 'tip of the iceberg': PM Imran

Elite can not hide behind 'victimisation' card, says premier


Rizwan Shehzad   January 13, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the revelations by the asset recovery firm, Broadsheet LLC, once again exposed the “massive scale of our ruling elites’ corruption and money laundering”, adding that those were just the “tip of the iceberg”.

In a series of tweets, the prime minister noted that the same people had earlier been exposed by the Panama Papers. “These elites cannot hide behind the ‘victimisation’ card on these international revelations,” he added.

Imran said his struggle of the past 24 years – against the corruption of the ruling elite – stood vindicated by the revelations. “These elites come to power and plunder the country,” the prime minister said in one of his tweets.

Imran reiterated that the Panama Papers leaks – which eventually led to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif being removed from power through a Supreme Court decision – had exposed the country’s ruling elite and their corruption earlier.

 “Now Broadsheet revelations have again exposed the massive scale of our ruling elites’ corruption and money laundering.” He added that “these elite” cannot hide behind the excuse of ‘victimisation’ regarding international revelations”.

Elaborating on the practice of money laundering, Imran said money laundering was done and then the ill-gotten wealth was stashed abroad, safe from domestic prosecution and then they use their political clout to get an NRO [a Musharraf-era amnesty through the National Reconciliation Ordinance]. “That is how they kept their plundered wealth safe. People of Pakistan are the biggest losers.”

Broadsheet’s head Kaveh Moussavi, in a recent interview to a web channel, had said that the Sharif family had assets not only in the UK but across the globe, adding that the family required plenty of explanation about their resources of amassing these assets.

Following the revelations in the interview, the government on Tuesday constituted a ministerial committee to look into the matter. Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that committee would “dissect the matter minutely” and share its findings with the public soon.

Prime Minister Imran also spoke about the Broadsheet head’s revelations in his speech at the inauguration ceremony of e-bidding, e-billing and GIS mapping system under the National Highway Authority (NHA) in the federal capital.

Elaborating on the practice of money laundering, the premier said money laundering is done and the ill-gotten wealth is then stashed abroad, safe from domestic prosecution and then use their political clout to get an NRO. "That is how they kept their plundered wealth safe. People of Pakistan are the biggest losers."

Moussavi, in an interview to a web channel, said the Sharif family has assets not only in the United Kingdom (UK) but across the globe, he said, adding that the Sharif family required plenty of explanation about their resources of amassing these assets.

He also severely criticised Sharif for claiming that Broadsheet had exonerated the Sharifs.

The government on Tuesday also constituted an inter-ministerial committee to look into the matter.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz in his post-cabinet news briefing said that the cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, formed the committee to further dissect the matter by minutely probing the case and share the findings with the public soon.

Apart from looking into how the country’s wealth was looted, the government’s spokesperson said, the committee will also examine the claim that a cousin of the disgraced prime minister had approached the asset recovery firm, asking it to negotiate and remove Sharif family’s name from the matter.

The minister said that the issue started in 2000 but went into a cold storage after the PML-N and the PPP were given an NRO, adding 200 names were given to the firm of people who had “illegally” took the country’s wealth abroad.

He said that the decision to make the committee has come after Moussavi’s interview and the decision of a high court in England -- imposing penalty on NAB.

Faraz said that the committee will make revelations about the Broadsheet matter within a few days so that the people who made a mockery of the national institutions; caused losses to the national exchequer and pushed the country into a litigation; which resulted in embarrassment for the whole country, should be exposed.