ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee has once again fixed September 20 to discuss the Panama Papers revelations and re-summoned the top management of NAB, FIA, FBR, SECP and State Bank of Pakistan to give detailed briefing to the committee members to the measures they have taken in this connection.

Previously the committee had summoned the officials of these departments to seek briefing on September 8 but none of them had turned up on which the members as well as the chairman of the committee had expressed their serious concern over the non-compliance.

Chairman PAC Syed Khursheed Shah after the September 8 non-compliance said that the flouting of the PAC by senior government officials was a matter of concern; rather it was a breach of privilege of the Parliament.

He re-summoned the officials and warned that in case of deliberate non-compliance of the orders of PAC, the committee would take punitive action against them under the law.

Earlier on the written request of PTI member of the committee Dr Arif Alvi, Chairman PAC Syed Khursheed Shah had summoned the top officials of these institutions to know what they have done so far in connection with the Panama leaks probe.

But on previous date fixed for taking up the matter none of the top official of these departments appeared and the committee was left with no choice but to fix a fresh date for taking up the matter.

Now the committee had fix September 20 to take up the issue of Panama Papers revelations and re-summoned the top officials of NAB, FIA, FBR, SECP and State Bank of Pakistan to know what steps they had taken so far in the light of these revelations about the offshore companies of over 500 Pakistanis including some politicians and members of the Prime Minister’s family.

The committee would like to know from these departments whether holding of offshore companies and other related matters would be a compoundable offence under the existing Paksitani laws or not.

The Public Accounts Committee has a busy schedule the week following Sept. 20 and would be engaged in scanning the accounts and audit objections of various departments till Sept. 29 but in case the committee would be requiring more time to deal with the Panama leaks matter the other issues could be deferred keeping in view the importance and urgency of the matter, a member of the committee informed The Nation.

He further said that they wanted to resolve the issue at some Parliamentary forum and that was the reason the opposition parties had framed a set of rational and practical terms of reference to probe the Panama Papers revelations but unfortunately the matter ended up in deadlock between the government and opposition sides.

Earlier Dr. Alvi in a letter written to Chairman Public Accounts Committee Syed Khursheed Shah, who is also Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly pointed out that Panama Papers were revealed on April 3, 2016, but no investigation was taking place in Pakistan. He added the government was not ready to have the PM’s name in the ToRs though he was the declared guardian of those named in the Leaks.

“As a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I am shocked and alarmed by the fact that I see no effort, no movement and no interest of government agencies to probe this issue at all. I believe some politicians are also involved, but in trying to protect them I am afraid that 95pc others may also escape scrutiny,” Dr Alvi further stated in his letter.

He requested Chairman PAC to summon urgently the top management of the FBR, SBP, SECP, FIA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance.

“It may be inquired from them as to why they have not initiated an investigation, or even issued notices to the entire list of Pakistanis that has been published, to ascertain: The reason for establishment of offshore shell companies in their name or in the name of their siblings, parents or children; Whether this was done in a legitimate manner and not in violation of the laws of Pakistan; Whether the said wealth which was deposited or invested in these offshore shell companies was accumulated through lawful means and not through kickbacks, commissions, over/under invoicing, tax evasion or other forms of corruption; Whether money was taken out of Pakistan in a legitimate manner after obtaining necessary statuary permissions from the relevant authorities, and in observance of the law; Whether the money was reported in their wealth and tax returns; Whether legitimate tax was paid on these amounts; Whether any help & cooperation has been sought from international agencies subscribing to ratified conventions in this regard…”

According to Dr Alvi, at least 15 international treaties exist on mutual assistance on illicit wealth smuggled abroad to which Pakistan is a signatory.