Panama Leaks and PML-N in 2018 Elections - BY: Asia Maqsood

The MossackFonssack is a Panamanian world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm but runs worldwide operation through a network of 600 people working in 42 countries. There were 11.5 million documents and 2.6 terabytes information leaked from its database. The German newspaper “SuuddeutscheZeitung” obtained the records from an anonymous source then shared with Internatioanla Consortium of Investigative journalists. Panama leaks are larger than U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wiki Leaks and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013- an unprecedented leak ever. This firm operates in Tax Havens which includes Switzerland, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, Jersey and the Isle of Man. These leaked files showed the innumerable ways through which rich people can exploit offshore tax regime. These offshore tax havens have been used by twelve national leaders including 143 politicians, their family members and close associates around the world. Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif’s children Mariam, Hassan and Hussain are enlisted in the ICIJ website as they all were enjoying the rights to authorize transactions for several companies.
PM Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Mariam has been designated as the owner of British Islands based firms named as Nielsen Enterprises Limited ( Saroor Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and Nescoll Limited which were incorporated in 1994 and 1993. She was the beneficial owner according to one of the documents dated on June 2012.She and his brother Hussain signed a document- a part of a series of transactions through which 13.8 million dollars were lent to Nielson and Nescoll by Deutsche Bank Geneva in 2007. One document revealed Hassan Nawaz Sharif as the one and only director of “Hangone Property Holdings Limited” which was incorporated in the tax haven British Virgin Islands in February 2007. The Deutsche Bank lent 7 million pounds to Sharif’s children against four flats in London’s Park Lane owned by these mentioned offshore companies as these companies were used to channel funds to get foreign assets.

As worldwide protests against political leaders to quit their leadership have been demonstrated likewise PM Nawaz Sharif also faced antagonism and pressure by opposite political parties for investigation into the secretive offshore companies in last couple of months. The notables of PML-N claimed that PM himself is not enlisted for having offshore companies or assets and he is not answerable for his progeny’s acts. The chairperson of PTI “Imran Khan” raised voices in his protests to investigate PM first then the other enlisted notables of Pakistan. Eventually in response to the petition of PTI and other political parties Supreme Court ordered to form a commission for panama case’s investigation.This order came just a day ago the PTI’s planned strategy to lockdown the capital. The massive demonstration of protests left Sharif’s Government a bit shaky on moral ground; eventually it was considered weakened by many people.The influence of Panama Leaks on PML-N in the next democratic elections in 2018 would be immense. There are some universal points which are fundamental for a working democracy in a country such as the accountability process of officials to protect the best national interests. Democracy is consolidated when leaders follow constitution and the established rules of law and voters’ behavior in support of democracy. Voters’ background and identification with the candidates, their party identification and voters’ views of the incumbent’s performance are basic factors for the democratic elections.In contemporary domestic political scenario the cohesion between other political parties is relatively less than PML-N. To unseat an incumbent PM to lose elections is relatively difficult only on the basis of Panama Leaks because the voters have to switch their loyalties or allegiance. Many voters reelect the candidate on the basis of their performance in economic realm whether economy of country is growing or not.In essence PML-N may have chances to win the next election on the basis of voters’ behavior or attitudes. Simultaneously it is necessary for the existing government to give pace for full-fledge investigation of Panama case through Supreme Court and introduce structural reforms in election process so that the burglary could be avoided.

Posted on Dec 22, 16 | 5:29 am