Pakistani military officials & their families exposed in Pandora Papers puts the military-backed government of Imran Khan in a fix

The names of at least eight former Pakistani military officials and their family members have been named in the latest set of documents released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). 

The ICIJ released what is being dubbed as the ‘Pandora Papers’ on Sunday night outlining the names of powerful politicians, business tycoons and other individuals. who  have off-shore investments. The Pakistani military officials who have been named are joined by over 700 other Pakistani nationals who have also made to the list. 

Besides the Pakistani military officials, prominent Pakistanis including cabinet members and key allies of Prime Minister Imran Khan along with top businessmen, are among those 700 named in these leaked papers. 

Revealing the transactions by retired Pakistani military officials, the Pandora Papers show that in 2007, the wife of Lieutenant-General Shafaat Ullah Khan, a prominent general and key ally of then Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf, acquired a USD $1.2m apartment through an offshore transaction.

Major-General Nusrat Naeem, a former director-general of counter-intelligence at the ISI, Pakistan’s premier spy agency, owned a company in the British Virgin Islands that was registered in 2009, shortly after he retired.

Lt. Colonel Raja Nadir Pervez, a retired army official and a former government minister, owned a British Virgin Islands registered company that has been involved in major transactions “in machinery and related businesses” to India, Thailand, Russia and China.

Other military officials include the former Pakistan Air Force chief Abbas Khattak, retired Lt Gen Habibullah Khan Khattak, retired Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal Muzaffarr, retired Lt Gen Khalid Maqbool and retired Lt Gen Tanvir Tahir. Among prominent cabinet ministers, Pakistan’s current finance minister, Shaukat Tarin has also been named with Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi.

The Pakistani elite, including  military officials (who are considered at the top of the hierarchy) have often been accused of usurping much of the country’s wealth. According to a recent report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), nearly $17.4 billion or roughly 6% of Pakistan’s GDP is enjoyed by a group of selected individuals.

The Pandora papers include 11.9 million documents which have exposed the “financial secrecy” of world leaders and others in the biggest ever leak so far. This massive reporting effort brought together more than 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries across the globe, including Pakistan.

PM Imran Khan, who ran his election platform on the promise of eradicating corruption, has found himself in the thick of it. He has constituted a government committee to look into the Pandora leaks but the political opposition has called it a sham, asking to involve more independent members to the committee, and not those that have close ties to the government given many of his cabinet members and ministers have been named. 

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