Opposition urges PM to remove ministers

Asks Imran to tell his aides named in Pandora Papers to face probe


Reuters October 04, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The opposition on Monday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to order cabinet ministers and aides named in leaked financial documents known as the Pandora Papers to resign from office and face investigation.

Major news organisations published the leaked documents on Sunday.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a Washington DC-based network of reporters and media organisations, said the documents link about 35 current and former national leaders and more than 330 politicians and officials in 91 countries and territories to secret stores of wealth.

Among those named in the papers are more than 700 Pakistanis, including several members of the federal cabinet, Pakistani partners of the ICIJ said.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who was among the Pakistanis identified, told a private news channel everyone would be investigated, including himself. He denied wrongdoing.

The ICIJ did not say how the files were obtained, and Reuters could not independently verify the allegations or documents detailed by the consortium.

Read More: Pandora Papers undrape corrupt leaders

A Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) spokesperson told Reuters the prime minister had to remove all of those identified in the files. "Imran Khan is bound to direct all his ministers and aides named in Pandora leaks to resign with immediate effect," Maryam Aurangzeb told Reuters.

The Pandora leaks have "opened a new Pandora's box" against Prime Minister Imran Khan, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said. "That leader who used to present himself as 'sadiq' (honest) and 'ameen' (trustworthy), has two more offshore companies." He was speaking to the media in Narowal.

The PML-N stalwart said that even before the Pandora Papers were released, government spokespersons had started defending PM Imran Khan.

The Supreme Court sacked Nawaz Sharif as prime minister in 2017 on corruption charges after his family's London properties came to light in an earlier leak of documents known as the Panama Papers.

The prime minister said his government would investigate all of those mentioned in the latest documents. "If any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action," he said on Twitter.

Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Sherry Rehman questioned "shallow" accountability slogans.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, meanwhile, demanded the immediate resignations of government ministers and advisers named in the Pandora Papers.

In his statement, the JI chief said that ministers and advisers should resign if their names are mentioned in the Pandora Papers, otherwise they should be sacked.

He said that for transparency in the investigation and to avoid government influence, it was necessary to remove the government employees whose names were involved. Reuters

(With input from News Desk)

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