The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released another report that is bound to send shockwave across the globe. Known as Paradise Papers, the leaked documents are sequel to Panama Papers. This 1.4 TB of leaked documents are mostly from Appleby– a leading law firm that deals in offshore finance. Once more light is shed on murky financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business elites; and once more we are witness to a shadowy world where the uber-rich live by a different set of rules.
Among the politicians and other influential individuals from 47 different countries, world leaders and former head of states are included in the report. From the Queen of England to Rex Tillerson and Wilbur Ross, the US Commerce Secretary, and other officials who are part of Trump administration, appears on the pages of the leaked documents.
So far, two prominent Pakistanis having offshore companies have made it to the list. One more Prime Minister; Shaukat Aziz along with the former chairperson of National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL), Ayaz Khan Niazi, hold offshore companies in Delaware and the British Virgin Islands respectively. Shaukat Aziz, while serving as the Prime Minister of Pakistan did nor reveal these companies
It must be remembered that the Sunday revelations are just a small part of the information; more announcements will follow throughout the week as journalists get their hands on the papers and trawl through them to make connections. Furthermore, the leaked documents are not anly an expose of people who use offshore tax havens to avoid taxes, the papers also show the links and vested interests that major international and national figures have maintained during their tenures. Matters are expected to get very awkward for many wealthy people across the world.
Panama leaks ignited the process of accountability and investigation in different countries including Pakistan. Only Nawaz bore the brunt of it as he was ousted from his office for an inquiry was initiated against him. With recent leaks, and the renewed scrutiny they bring, perhaps the institutions responsible for accountability in the country will probe into the financial records of those who made it to the files of Panama Papers and escaped the scrutiny as the whole focus was on the then Prime Minister.