Pakistan PM Imran Khan Demands Full Transparency After UK-based Firm Alleges Corruption by Pakistanis
File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan. (Reuters)
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday demanded complete transparency from a UK-based asset recovery firm over corruption by Pakistan's elite after the company's owner claimed that it had evidence of money laundering by some Pakistanis.
Khan in a series of scathing tweets said that Pakistan's elites were involved in systematic corruption and money laundering. His comments came just days after Kaveh Moussavi of Broadsheet LLC's said his firm was influenced by former premier Nawaz Sharif and others and that it had evidence of money laundering by some other Pakistanis.
Moussavi claimed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif offered a bribe to the firm for abandoning a probe against his foreign assets and added that the deal was offered by a person claiming himself as the nephew of Sharif in the year 2012.
Panama Papers exposed our ruling elite corruption & money laundering earlier. Now Broadsheet revelations have again exposed the massive scale of our ruling elite corruption & money laundering, Khan tweeted.
These revelations (are) tip of the iceberg. We want complete transparency from the Broadsheet on our elites money laundering and on who stopped investigations, he said. Khan said these revelations had repeatedly exposed what he had been saying in his "24-year fight against corruption which is the biggest threat to the country's progress".
"These elites come to power and plunder the country. They do money laundering to stash their ill-gotten gains abroad, safe from domestic prosecution. Then they use their political clout to get NROs. That is how they kept their plundered wealth safe," he said, adding that the nation suffered as a consequence. He went to add that these elites cannot hide behind the "victimisation" card on these international revelations.
National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was the law enacted by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to waive off all cases and corruption charges against former premier Benazir Bhutto, her husband Asif Ali Zardari and dozens of others in 2007 to strike a political deal with her. The infamous law has become synonymous with the political concession to make political deals.
After Moussavi's revelations, Khan formed an inter-ministerial committee to probe the allegation of corruption against people mentioned. The cabinet formed an inter-ministerial committee, which will reveal details of the individuals mentioned in the Broadsheet scandal, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said.
He said that Khan had decided to make the names public after thorough scrutiny. The UK company Broadsheet LLC was registered in the Isle of Man in the time former president Pervez Musharraf and it entered into a deal with Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to track down ill-gotten foreign assets of Pakistani.
The contract was terminated in 2003 by the NAB. Dawn reported that a lawyer associated with the company earlier told the newspaper that the Sharifs were the top target of the Broadsheet investigation.
The company's owner alleged that someone claiming to be associated with Sharif approached him in 2012 and offered a sum of money to drop the probe against him. The timing of fresh allegations against Sharif coincides with his party fully supporting an Opposition alliance to topple Khan's government on the allegations of electoral fraud.
Sharif, 70, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, has been living in London since November last year after the Lahore High Court permitted him to go abroad for four weeks for treatment. The three-time former prime minister, convicted in two corruption cases — Avenfield properties and Al-Azizia — was declared a proclaimed offender by the Islamabad High Court after he failed to appear before it despite several warnings.