ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday said the Government of Pakistan was ready to investigate Panama Papers — an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from an offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca — through the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA).
Nisar was addressing a press conference in Islamabad and offered the Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan to name any FIA official to head the investigation.
“We should move forward from politics of objection, threats and rallies and should rather focus on the resolution of the issue,” Nisar said.
Yesterday, the PTI chief demanded of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to tender his resignation after ‘loosing moral authority’ to keep the post amid Panama Papers’ revelations.
In an ‘address to the nation’ from his Bani Gala residence, Khan said the government should form an inquiry commission led by the serving chief justice of Pakistan. “The commission should also include white-collar crime experts and an audit firm that follows the trail of money to determine where it leads,” he said.
The PTI chief gave the government time till April 24 to take an appropriate action over the issue, after which he added he will announce a future course of action. Khan said they will march on Prime Minister Sharif’s residence in Raiwind instead of Red Zone in Islamabad.
Leaked confidential documents spanning over nearly 40 years that spell out the extensive use of tax havens by politicians, world leaders and celebrities to launder money and evade taxes through one of the most secretive companies the Panamaian law firm Mossack Fonseca has taken the world by storm.
Many Pakistanis have also been named in their revelations.
The documents identify many Pakistani business tycoons and politicians including late two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as well certain members of the ruling Sharif family (excluding PM Nawaz Sharif and his brother Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif) to have use tax havens to hide their wealth.
Nisar said the government will not allow any political party or a group to hold rallies in Islamabad’s D-Chowk and F-9 Park and would establish its writ.
“Whatever we need to do, we are going to do. D-Chow and F-9 Park could not be used for political purposes,” he said.
The interior minister’s announcement comes as the PTI has announced to organise a rally on its foundation day on April 24.
Nisar recalled that the protests in the federal capital in 2014 had caused the national exchequer losses worth Rs1 billion.
He urged the political parties to hold their rallies in other cities. “Regular blockades and suspension of mobile phone services have been a cause of distress for the citizens of Islamabad,” Nisar said.