Islamabad, May 16, 2020: Without any public discussion the PTI government has made a quick law allowing Pakistani and dual nationals to protect from public knowledge a percentage of offshore holdings. In other words, all those who have split up their ownership in less than 10% in offshore companies now get to keep it secret.
“What happened to accountability and transparency?” questioned PPP Parliamentary Leader in Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman.
“Under the Companies Act 2017, it was legally binding for people who have substantial shares in local companies or officers of local companies to disclose their stakes in offshore companies. However, the government has quietly promulgated a presidential ordinance on May 4 to make the disclosure condition less stringent,” she added.
Rehman said, “Instead of punishing people who steal and hide their money in offshore accounts, ordinances like these are being passed and that too when the government should be busy making policies on tackling the ongoing pandemic. Surely there are other more important matters to worry about? Why these changes now? What is the timing? Who has seen the ordinance and what is its real intent? “
She said, “PTI turned out to be the biggest beneficiary of the Panama scandal and offshore companies. Considering what happened during the Panamagate Case and how a sitting Prime Minister was disqualified on their pleas, PTI is now legalising the same thing for themselves. This reeks of blatant double standards”.
“PPP has always called for transparency and will stand against such decisions at all forums. It is clear that such decisions are being made to protect someone but the question is, who? We will continue to expose dual policies and legislation of the government,” she added.
Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying, “This move by the ruling party raises a lot of questions, as these are the same people who harped on about merit, transparency and accountability when they were in the opposition, but have now conveniently forgotten all about it. Who are they trying to protect?”