‘Se­crets Leak’

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

AYE­SHA AZIZ April 2016 has been quite an event­ful month when it comes to the Panama Pa­pers. The leak­age of these pa­pers dur­ing the first week of the month has cre­ated a storm in Pak­istan that re­fuses to die down. Some 200 Pak­ista­nis are un­der the radar for their al­leged in­volve­ment in oper­at­ing of off­shore com­pa­nies.

Since erup­tion of this con­tro­versy, the role of op­po­si­tion par­ties in Pak­istan has been con­fronta­tional and aggressive. Pak­istan Tehreek-i-In­saf (PTI) is lead­ing from the front. The Terms of Ref­er­ences (ToRs) an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif has led to fur­ther po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty as all ma­jor op­po­si­tion par­ties, in­clud­ing the PPP have re­fused to ac­cept them. The PTI has al­ready con­vened several meet­ings on the is­sue, and has also held pub­lic ral­lies in Islamabad, La­hore and Peshawar. As for the PPP, its lead­ers Se­na­tor Aitzaz Ah­san and Syed Khur­shid Shah have said that the PM should re­sign on moral grounds if the con­tents of the Panama Pa­pers prove to be true.

Ear­lier this week, a ma­jor pri­vate me­dia group’s af­fil­i­ated news­pa­per claimed that the In­ter­na­tional Con­sor­tium of In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ists (ICIJ), the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­spon­si­ble for leak­ing the Panama Pa­pers, has ap­par­ently apol­o­gised for men­tion­ing PM Sharif’s name in the pa­pers cit­ing ‘edit­ing er­rors’. When several Pak­istani jour­nal­ists and ac­tivists sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion on this story from the ICIJ, the or­gan­i­sa­tion de­nied the story, and stated that it stands by its stance on PM Sharif be­ing in­di­rectly in­volved in his chil­dren’s off­shore com­pa­nies. If the ICIJ’s claims are valid, govern­ment has al­legedly planted a fake story through a cer­tain me­dia group for mit­i­gat­ing pres­sure on the PM.

The me­dia and po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers of the rul­ing party seem to be act­ing in un­wise hurry, mak­ing one faux pas af­ter the other. The govern­ment ad­ver­tise­ments placed in all ma­jor news­pa­pers osten­si­bly paid by tax­pay­ers money to clar­ify the name of the Sharif fam­ily of al­le­ga­tions of tax-eva­sion is one ex­am­ple of govern­ment’s lack of sagac­ity in han­dling a very sen­si­tive mat­ter. Fur­ther­more, the steps taken by the Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif in curb­ing cor­rup­tion from the armed forces have al­ready strength­ened the op­po­si­tion’s morale, forc­ing the govern­ment to be on the back foot at the mo­ment. —Karachi ASMA IQBAL In lat­est ad­di­tion of Panama pa­pers ma­jor­ity of Pak­ista­nis hav­ing their names, ap­prox 150 from Karachi and 400 across Pak­istan. This is the poor Pak­istan and it is not new for the na­tion. Any­thing can hap­pen here and peo­ple will talk, for­get and this will be­come his­tory.

Is­sues like un-em­ploy­ment, water scarcity, elec­tric­ity fail­ures, law and or­der sit­u­a­tion, poor ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, dam­age of in­fra struc­ture and other main prob­lems are ne­glected and all fo­cus is on “Metro bus project” types of projects. We can say it’s a bad luck for Pak­istani peo­ple.

May be in fu­ture some­one like “Mos­sack Fon­seca” will re­veal that in “Swiss bank” ma­jor­ity of ac­count hold­ers are “Pak­ista­nis”. I wish that peo­ple of Pak­istan get so­cial jus­tice and ben­e­fits of good gover­nance. — Karachi

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