In Pakistan, misdeeds are epidemic. Breaking news in media keeps broadcasting an endless charade of greed, lies, misappropriation, misconduct and betrayal of the country and its people. The glass houses in which the rulers and rich live are insulated from people. With dollars parked in offshore accounts, devaluation makes them richer. They own the consumer industries and benefit from price hikes. The dirty rich, in the quest to become dirtier with insatiable lust for power and money, do so with impunity scratching each other’s backs. Their personal interests far outweigh the structural balances of their country. However disparate the club may look internally, they have their meeting points in tax havens that operate and go untouched despite the watchful eyes of international intelligence.

Tax havens are an extension of the international capitalist system that transcends international politics. Expansion of globalisation of capital helped by transnational trade, and loose fiscal policies promotes flight of capital. Major Powers represented by multinationals fleece corrupt leaders and businessmen of developing countries. Big powers facilitate and let it happen because it helps them exercise leverage over critical policy issues.

Offshore financial centers or tax havens provide services to nonresident people or businesses without disclosure of information. Taxes are very low taxes. It is estimated that such centers till now have siphoned off over 2 trillion US dollars. Profit shifting by multinational companies in names of other entities include USD 213 billion a year. These are purportedly kickbacks, bribes and commissions paid to politicians and state functionaries of developing countries, violating international sanctions right under the nose of Federal Reserve Bank of USA, World Bank and IMF; all US controlled international financial institutions. Invariably, the most telling trails often lead to property tycoons in United Kingdom. Sources of revenue include drugs, crime, arms smuggling, betting and terrorism. No wonder that disgraced FIFA officials and some sportsmen also find space in this black hole.

In the past week Pakistanis witnessed many a soap opera. First, the ill thought though deliberately planned execution of a misguided zealot, followed by an inept Punjab and Federal administration allowing siege of the Parliament. Then the mayhem in Lahore on Easter Sunday, shameless conduct of T-20 cricket team, arrest of a serving Indian super spy that stunned the federal government into silence, a lackluster speech by the prime minister and now the Panama Papers followed by a sheepish clarification. Pakistan’s layers of instability comprise layers within layers. Gone are the days when Pakistani politicians in exile lived a life of poverty like Iskandar Mirza and Suhrawardy. Transnationalism now provides opportunities for money laundering, offshore trading and covering financial trails of corruption. Arguments in Pakistan that politicians are singled out is hallow and fallacious. Right at the top, every big business in Pakistan has political linkages.

Tycoons, Industrialists, media houses, bankers and investment experts are all an intertwined system of an offset economy. An ex-prime minister of Pakistan is an expert on off shore financing.

Panama Papers are not leaks anymore. They indicate that the international civil society has moved beyond Wikileaks and Snowden to an internationally organised covert verification and investigation involving over 400 reputed journalists from 76 countries. These documents comprising 2.6 terabytes of data were provided to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German Newspaper by a source. The first set of information was released on 3 April. Not only Pakistanis but the entire world now awaits more details that shall be revealed early next month.

The autocratic Muslim World and Pakistan top the list. No wonder why these rulers besieged by the vulnerability of legitimacy willingly betray their people to serve foreign interests. They are pliable to blackmail and make compromises against the interests of their people and country. Being in power is an ecstasy and exile a notch up the political ladder. The innocent Prime Minister of Pakistan, a man of modest means and his ilk find themselves in company of some of the biggest crooks the world has known.

Pakistan’s official reaction is a stark contrast. First, it wants people to believe that like his fast in-dippers, Imran Khan is the inventor of off shore tax havens. They chose to attack Pakistan’s only international standard cancer hospital. The provincial law minister of Punjab called Panama Papers a satanic cult created by Imran Khan. After the Prime Minister’s hurried and ill prepared speech, the government is see-sawing between the idea of an Inquiry commission or a judicial commission, rather than follow what the world is doing.

I have always maintained that Pakistan is a resource rich country blessed with excellent manpower but under a curse of corrupt leaders.

Haroon Mughul, a blogger makes a very valid point by commenting, “If Pakistan really was a poor country, so many of her leaders wouldn’t be on this list. But Pakistan isn’t actually a poor country—it’s kept poor by gross structural imbalances, and the predatory actions of a shockingly corrupt political class. Not only is Pakistan’s elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, now under scrutiny, but numerous other prominent Pakistanis are named by the Panama Papers, too. While we can expect more leaks, we shouldn’t lose sight of the connection between this corruption and extremism.”

Predatory actions by a shockingly corrupt political class and dirty rich for personal advantage are a fact. Prime Minister’s speech in reaction to Panama Papers was naïve and sheepish. The non-plausible explanations were an admission of guilt that revealed hollowness. With a trove of information available, the local media and analysts were quick to corroborate dates, events and statements of the past to open a Pandora’s Box of lies and deceits. His unnecessary narrations of Ittefaq Foundry were a lost case with guilt oozing. Contrary to woes he narrated, this foundry on denationalisation had four hundred million rupees of bad debts written off and another four hundred million awarded as a special grant by President Zia Ul Haq, the mentor of Sharif family. This was the only case of its time. The prime witness Lt. Gen Saeed Qadir is still alive. Zia did this because, he needed a civilian face to his dictatorship, and one who could end Bhutto’s legacy.

The reaction of some countries has been swift and objective. Australian Tax Office is already investigating over 800 cases that could be referred to Serious Financial Crime Task Force. Columbia has launched an investigation into the case in a country already blacklisted under its laws. France has initiated investigations and declared Panama a Tax Haven. Right next door, India constituted a special monetary multi-agency group to carry out investigation.

Rather than hide behind self-franchised commissions whose members do not understand financial trails, Mr. Prime Minister, just do what your personal friend Prime Minister Modi is doing in India on Panama Papers.