The “sudden” advent or leakage of Panama Paper Leaks creates conspiracy, dilemma and disgrace for the noble billionaires around the world and they are in hot waters nowadays. PM Nawaz Sharif and his family, is among the such affected “dignitaries”. He faces bitter criticism from all corners of the country; especially from the print, electronic and social media. I don’t have any objection over the wealth of Nawaz & Co. and I don’t even malign his offshore companies…
I am not getting sarcastic at all but the actual issue relates to the significant national interest of Pakistan. Though I am neither a competent analyst nor an economist but I can still assess the whole phenomenon, because some points are really irksome and pinching my mind just like the other “ordinary” fellows countrymen. Let me try to sort out and evaluate subject-matter of the Panama Paper Leaks.
1. This is a sheer accuse that the business is illegal all in all; because the money was smuggled offshore, so it is the clear case of money laundering. Previously the family did not return the debt, they borrowed from the national financial institutions, consequently all the credited money has been written off using illegitimate. It’s a dreadful and ruthless example of bad debting. Why don’t the entrepreneurs abide by the laws of the country, rather than making false justifications and befooling the fellow countrymen??
2. Government is claiming of giving tempting incentives to the foreigner investors. On the contrary every member of Sharif family owns an offshore company, as it is evident in the Panama Paper Leaks. It is a sheer discrimination on such a high level. Why don’t they try to take the risk of investing their own capital on Pakistani soil, instead of alluring others, for the progress and prosperity of their beloved homeland?
3. The national wealth is remorselessly utilised in boosting their personal business, without any legitimate proceedings, according to Panama Paper Leaks. Why don’t they utilize their capital to boost the economy of the country?
4. The country is heavily indebted and the debts are increasing manifolds in the recent years. But the Sharif family keep on focusing, stressing and perusing on the family business and striving for elevating its offshore companies, as mentioned in Panama Paper Leaks. Why do they sign more and more agreements for financial aid on the highest interest rate, with IMF and World Bank, rather than eliminate the vicious circle of the debts and poverty and strive for giving some relief to the common masses? Why don’t they use their own capital in Pakistan to end the misery of it, since they claim not to be upstarts? After all the business empire stands on the taxes and hard-earned money of Pakistani people.
5. Nawaz Sharif himself boasts of his family wealth, in his speech to the nation, on the national media and he urged stressfully that he is a billionaire by birth. But contrary to his recent statements, the income tax index totally defy the facts and figures. Why doesn’t he pay the appropriate tax money, in accordance with his wealth, if he is a billionaire?
6. PM Nawaz Sharif appeared on the state-run TV channels and try to allure the nation by making sham excuses. He apologised instead of explanation. But the question is, why does he apology since he is not guilty (in his own words)? Does this apology wash away the stigma and recover the loss of the country?
7. PM Nawaz Sharif & Co. are in included in the Panama Papers Leaks, along with PM of Iceland, Minister for Industries of Spain, PM of Ukraine, President of Argentina, Head of Justice & Enforcement of Armenia, Chilean Head of Transparency International, Congress Members of Brazil, Secretary of (late) Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. They all either quit, resigned or probed for their wrong-doings. On the other hand, in Pakistan, a campaign has started for defending the accused and hiding facts, on the Government level. The allies of the PM and Co. wasted money on publishing full-scape advertisements in the Newspapers. They run campaigns on the Electronic Media as well as Social Media. It keeps on stressing being not guilty of charges; which is strongly denied by the Director of ICIJ, Gerard Ryle. Isn’t it a brutal act of misusing tax money of the people of Pakistan, for the sake of defending futile and meaningless activities? Why don’t they utilize this money for the welfare of the poor of the nation? Why don’t they try to pay heed to the real issues of the common masses, such as; poverty, economic instability, law & order situation, terrorism, education, basic health etc?
Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan
(Written on April 29, 2016)