PM orders to trace Panama Papers accused

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ordered to track down those named in the 2016 Panama Papers. According to sources in the prime minister secretariat, more than 250 people named in the Panama Papers have availed the tax amnesty and most of the companies named in the leak have shifted to China. Sources said, 175 people named in the leak could not be located while information regarding 78 was incomplete for which help from agencies has been sought. A trove of 11.5 million digital records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed how many of the world’s wealthy used offshore companies to stash assets. The data were leaked to a German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and reports appeared in major media from April 3, 2016. In the immediate aftermath, Iceland’s prime minister was forced to resign after the leak showed his family sheltered assets offshore. Other people were exposed to scrutiny, including the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children, former British prime minister David Cameron, Argentina’s football icon Lionel Messi and President Mauricio Macri, Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, and many current and former politicians and associates. In Pakistan, the Supreme Court took up a case on the revelation that Nawaz’s children owned offshore companies dealing in millions of dollars in property transactions. Nawaz was subsequently disqualified from holding public office in a landmark decision by the apex court in July 2017 and an accountability court was ordered to open references against him and his family. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government was firmly committed to undertake structural reforms of bureaucracy to make it efficient and responsive to the needs of time. He was chairing a meeting of Task Force on Civil Service Reforms in Islamabad on Friday. The Prime Minister regretted that bureaucracy was heavily politicized during the past ten years which resulted in its inefficiency and created a fear amongst the bureaucrats. He said bureaucracy will be depoliticized and insulated from all kinds of political pressures.